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Portuguese Peseiro quits as Nigeria coach

By AFP
Sports News Nigeria's Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro C talks to star forward Victor Osimhen R during the Africa Cup of Nations final against Ivory Coast on February 11, 2024.  By FRANCK FIFE AFP
MAR 1, 2024 LISTEN
Nigeria's Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro (C) talks to star forward Victor Osimhen (R) during the Africa Cup of Nations final against Ivory Coast on February 11, 2024. By FRANCK FIFE (AFP)

Jose Peseiro announced his decision to step down as coach of Nigeria on Friday after leading the country to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations last month.

The 63-year-old Portuguese coach met the target of guiding the Super Eagles to the semifinal of the tournament set for him by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), but opted to move on.

Peseiro said it was a great privilege to work with Nigeria and he and his staff will miss both the officials and players they have worked with over the past two years.

"It has been 22 months of immense dedication, sacrifice, emotion, and enormous enthusiasm. We feel a sense of fulfillment," Peseiro posted on X, formerly Twitter, after his contract with the NFF ran out Thursday.

"Guys, we are thankful; it has been a privilege to be part of this family.

"We will miss you, but we will always be there for you, no matter where you are. A big hug to all of you."

Peseiro was appointed Nigeria coach in May 2022 amid concerns he would not make a success of the job going by his past record.

He helped the country qualify for the delayed 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, which was staged in Ivory Coast last month, when the Super Eagles went all the way to the championship game.

His critics knocked his defensive tactics even though the team reached the final against most expectations.

His extended contract covered only the Africa Cup of Nations after which officials said he was offered a new deal with the same monthly salary of $50,000, which he earned when he took a pay cut last year to keep his post.

Widely travelled Peseiro has said he has received several offers after Nigeria were beaten in the final by hosts Ivory Coast.

His departure will signal what could possibly be a long-drawn search for a replacement with growing calls for the often cash-strapped NFF to hire a local coach, who they can afford, in his place.

Peseiro, a former Real Madrid assistant coach, previously managed Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and clubs including Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, Panathinaikos, Rapid Bucharest, Al-Hilal, Al-Wahda, Al-Ahly Cairo and Sharjah FC.

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