Three Problems Jose Peseiro Can’t Wish Away


Jose Peseiro would have expected a decent test for his Nigeria team in the international friendly match against Saudi Arabia, Friday, at the Estádio Municipal de Portimão, and surely the Portuguese got his money’s worth.

Peseiro named a strong XI with only four changes from the team that started the last International game – Africa Cup of Nations qualifier vs Sao Tome and Principe.


Ola Aina was left out of the squad due to injury, same as Taiwo Awoniyi, while Kelechi Iheanacho and Frank Onyeka were dropped to the bench.

In their places, Tyronne Ebuehi, Victor Boniface, Samuel Chukwueze and Alex Iwobi were all called up to start.

Regardless of the changes, the team started well and dominated however there were a few sticking points and we take a look at the three headaches for Peseiro after tonight.


A howler by the Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper broke deadlock. Salman Al-Faraj’s cross was palmed into the net by Francis Uzoho. At this level of international football, such errors are inexcusable but when they become a recurring event it becomes concerning.

In his post match reaction, Peseiro tried to deflect the criticisms and even called it unfair and damaging.

However, for a team that has conceded 17 goals in 12 matches, and lost 6 of those he might need to do more actual work on the pitch and with his selection than his reprise defense of a bad situation.


The goal contribution from the flank men, in a team that mainly attacks through the wings and half spaces is considerably low. Peseiro expressed disappointment with the missed chances against Saudi Arabia, but the problem is a persistent one.

On Friday, Ademola Lookman and Samuel Chukwueze did not impress and haven’t particularly been convincing in spite of the many opportunities. The duo are ahead in the pecking order for Peseiro, but they can’t seem to stay consistent and for a team heading into a tournament, it’s a big ask to think they’d lead Nigeria charge in Ivory Coast.


Wilfred Ndidi and Alex Iwobi may have unlocked new talents, the former more recently, but the team needs depth in that position and the collapse after Peseiro effected his change is all the proof he needs.

An effective DM and a CM, both of whom can be relied on as bench replacements would prove crucial.

Nigeria’s struggles at the last two Cup of Nations have been down to a dearth in the quality of its midfield starters and reinforcements off the bench.

If the Super Eagles are to truly compete against the likes of Senegal, Morocco and Algeria as frontrunners for the Cup in Côte D’Ivoire, the Jose Peseiro must match these heavyweights in every department of the team, talent for talent and other things being equal.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here