Stakeholders have condemned the Nigeria Football Federation after the federation used a social media poll to decide whether to renew the contract of Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro or relieve him of his job, Sunday PUNCH reports.
The NFF announced the appointment of Peseiro as the new coach of the Eagles May 15, 2022, replacing Austin Eguavoen, who returned to his Technical Director role at the federation.
The Portuguese coach, who earns $70,000 per month, will see his one-year contract with the federation expire in five days’ time.
The stats and figures since Peseiro took over the Eagles’ job have not been impressive, raising doubts about his credential to continue with the three-time African champions.
Under the tutelage of the Portuguese, the Eagles have churned out underwhelming performances and have only won four of their eight games under the watch of the 67-year-old manager, losing the remaining four, with the side scoring 15 goals and conceding 11.
It was also under Peseiro that the Eagles recorded their worst run in 42 years as they lost four consecutive games, including a shock 1-0 defeat to minnows and 118th-ranked Guinea-Bissau in Abuja last March in a 2023 AFCON qualifier.
Checks by our correspondents showed that the Eagles were ranked 30th in the FIFA rankings when the Portuguese took over in May 2022, but in the latest ranking released by the football governing body in April, Nigeria now ranks 40th in the world.
With the future of the Portuguese uncertain, the country’s football governing body decided to leave it to a public vote, using social media and SMS poll.
NFF president, Ibrahim Gusau, in an interview on the Gbamm! LovingFootball™️ Show, said it was an effort to involve Nigerians in the decision-making process.
“We have that plan to push it to Nigerians and to hear their views (about the decision),” Gusau stated.
“We tried the foreign coaches and also the home-based coaches, and it seems all were having some kind of problems. But maybe we did not get it right in the area of getting the right person (for the role). But we are surely going to push it to the public whether to continue with Peseiro or let him go.”
Reacting to the NFF’s approach, 2013 African Cup of Nations winner, Azubuike Egwuekwe, is of the opinion that the NFF should be the ones to determine if he is sacked or if he should remain in the managerial position.
“Nigerians shouldn’t have the right to appoint or sack a coach for the national team,” Egwuekwe told Sunday PUNCH.
“They are the NFF, they know what is good for Nigeria. If they want to appoint a new coach, they should decide it within themselves, not to open it to the public to decide who will be the new coach.”
TV Presenter Charles Anazodo believes that the NFF took “an irresponsible” decision by leaving it to the public to decide.
“Yes, I think it is an irresponsible decision by the NFF,” Anazodo stated.
“The public should not be left to judge the performance of anybody employed by a set of technocrats because I do believe that Jose Peseiro was given the job by virtue of an interview that was conducted.
“I think it’s the football federation shirking its responsibilities, if they want to remove the coach, then do it and find somebody else, even though I think it is foolhardy for the federation to want to sack a manager who has qualified the team for the Africa Cup of Nations.
“I have never heard any federation around the world let the public decide on the fate of their national manager, it is just absolutely ridiculous.”
General Secretary of the National Association of Nigeria Professional Footballers, Austin Popo, thinks that no matter what the people decide, the final decision still lies with the NFF.
“It is very wrong to get public opinion. Although football is about the people, and at times, they should allow the people to make some decisions, but the final decision lies with them.
“To me, I think the people are part of football, but whatever decision the NFF takes, it depends on what they initially want to do,” Popo said.
UK-based Nigerian journalist, Osasu Obayiuwana, added, “I think this is a complete dereliction of duty on the part of the Nigeria Football Federation to tell fans to take a professional decision.
“The decision to keep a coach in his job or to sack or not to renew his contract is a professional decision and it cannot be decided upon by using Big Brother tactics, it is absurd.”
The decision seems to be unpopular among board member of the NFF.
A board member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “This has really brought us to ridicule and will give the Nigerian public, with good reason, the right to think that we do not know what we are doing. “We might as well subject our own future, as a board, to a public vote. Whoever convinced the president (Gusau) to do this does not mean well for Nigerian football.”