Super Eagles: Who Is Jose Peseiro, The Ex-Real Madrid Assistant Coach Taking Over From Rohr?

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After a few weeks of speculation, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) finally announced the permanent replacement for the sacked Gernot Rohr in a communique released on Wednesday.

The statement confirmed the appointment of Jose Peseiro as the new Super Eagles head coach. It added that the 61-year-old Portuguese gaffer won’t take over immediately from Austin Eguavoen, the team’s interim head coach, till after next year’s AFCON in Cameroon.

The announcement did not come as a shock as many followers of the Nigerian national side have been expecting the top brasses at NFF to sign up another foreign coach to clear the “disaster” that Amaju Pinnick, the federation’s president, had declared Rohr was leading the team into.

Peseiro is the Super Eagles’ new boss, saddled with a well-publicised job of rejuvenating discipline and a sense of directness into the Nigerian side.

But first, who is Peseiro?

A second division player and first division coach

Peseiro was born in 1960 in Crouche, Portugal, where he began his football career. His playing days, however, didn’t see advancement beyond the second division of the Portuguese League.

He hung his boots at the age of 34 in 1994 while languishing in the fourth division with União de Santarém.

Upon retirement, Peseiro thrust himself straight into the man-managing and tactics tinkering space of football management. For a handful of years, he managed teams in the lower rungs of Portuguese football, swinging between the third and fourth divisions.

Then his big break came when he was appointed manager of C.D Nacional in 1999. He helped improve the club’s football, and within three seasons, he managed them to the Portuguese first division.

Spell at Real Madrid

In 2003, Peseiro was hired to be an assistant manager to fellow countryman Carlos Queiroz who was employed to lead the Galacticos charge at Real Madrid. The team under the Portuguese pair was successful at first and was primed to win the La Liga, having built a significant advantage over their rivals, but a late-season crumble saw them surrender the title to Valencia, then coached by a young Rafa Benitez. Los Blancos finished a distant fourth, barely qualified for the UEFA Champions League, and the duo was sacked.

Jose Peseiro
Jose Peseiro’s big break came when he was appointed manager of C.D Nacional in 1999 (REUTERS/Rafael Marchante)

UEFA Cup runner-up

Following a short spell at Real Madrid, Peseiro returned to Portugal and was picked up by Sporting Lisbon. Coaching players like Nigeria’s Jonathan Enakarhire and Joao Moutinho, he managed the club to the 2005 UEFA Cup final but lost 3-1 to CSKA Moscow.

Almost won silverware at FC Porto

After a typical journey-man career move that saw him coach clubs in Greece, Romania, Egypt, and the national team of Saudi Arabia, Peseiro returned to Portugal to coach FC Porto in 2016. He lost the final of the Taça de Portugal to Braga on penalties.

Peseiro’s last job

The Portuguese gaffer was appointed the head coach of the Venezuelan national side in 2020. He oversaw a disastrous 2021 Copa America outing which had the team eliminated from the group stage after two draws and two defeats. He managed to keep his job until August 2021, when he resigned over non-payment of salaries for a year.