Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro, new contract signed, names three new Super Eagles for AFCON qualifier
Jose Peseiro’s contract as Nigeria coach has been renewed after he agreed to take a significant reduction in wages, and his first order of business was to name his squad to face Sao Tome e Principe in an AFCON qualifier on September 10.
Peseiro was initially hired by the NFF under Amaju Pinnick on the highest salary of any previous Super Eagles coach, and nearly double the wages of his predecessor Gernot Rohr.
However, the NFF, with a limited budget from the government and even less from sponsorship revenue, have struggled under the burden of paying those wages for nearly the entire year that the coach has been on the job.
His contract expired in July, and the current NFF board, led by Ibrahim Musa Gusau, made it clear that renewing the contract would be conditional on Peseiro accepting a pay cut.
On Sunday, the NFF said both parties had come to an agreement, with a statememt from NFF Director of Communications Ademola Olajire saying the coach had “now agreed to continue in the role after accepting a pay cut on his earlier terms”.
Although no details were given in the statement, officials told ESPN that under the terms of the new agreement, the coach will now earn a nearly 30 percent reduction of his previous figure.
That brings Peseiro in line with what previous coaches had been paid by the federation, including Rohr before he also took a pay cut following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under Peseiro’s guidance, Nigeria have already qualified for the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations, and done so with a game to spare, thus meeting one of his contract requirements. The other is to lead the team to the semifinals at the tournament in Ivory Coast.
Peseiro has now called up three new players for the Super Eagles for the match next week. In-form forwards Gift Orban and Victor Boniface will hope to feature for the first time for Nigeria and bring their blistering European form to the green and white.
Also enjoying a first time call up is former Germany youth international Jordan Torunarigha, whose switch to Nigeria was only finalized last month.
There were also recalls for defenders Tyrone Ebuehi and Bruno Onyemachi along with midfielder Raphael Onyedika, with the injured Alex Iwobi missing out. Nigeria, with 12 points from their previous five matches, are already guaranteed a place in the finals with a game to spare, but must earn at least a point to be sure of topping the group ahead of second-placed Guinea Bissau, who are on 10 points and play at home to Sierra Leone in Bissau.
Peseiro has also been handed the additional responsibility of taking charge of the CHAN team, comprised of players from the domestic league who compete at the CAF Africa Nations Championship.
This arrangement brings the B side under the direct purview of the head coach for the first time since the late Stephen Keshi was in charge.
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Omonia FC, Cyprus); Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba FC); Adebayo Adeleye (Hapoel Jerusalem, Israel)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Nottingham Forest, England); Tyronne Ebuehi (Empoli FC, Italy); Jordan Torunarigha (KAA Gent, Belgium); William Ekong (PAOK FC, Greece); Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (Cardiff FC, Wales); Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC, Portugal)
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Joe Ayodele-Aribo (Southampton FC, England); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England)
Forwards: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest, England); Gift Orban (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Boniface (Bayern Leverkusen, Germany)