.Ex-International Says Coach’ll Lose His Job If He Ignores NPL Stars Again –
By Tunde Oyedele –
Coach Jose Peseiro’s days as Super Eagles tactician may be over any moment from now, if he doesn’t change his reliance on solely foreign-based players to prosecute national team assignments. That’s what ex-international Chikelue ‘General’ Iloenyosi told this newspaper during the ongoing Nigeria Premier League (NPL) Super 6 Play-Offs at the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium in Onikan, Lagos State.
Iloenyosi, the incumbent Chairman of Anambra State Football Association, says it is high time the stakeholders of Nigerian football take the bull by the horns and reposition the country’s dwindling fortunes in the game.
Peseiro, whose initial contract expired early last month, has been a regular face at the NPL Super 6 Play-Offs in Lagos, working and taking some notes as players from the top six clubs display their raw talents at the Mobolaji Johnson Stadium.
The football administrator is pleased to see Peseiro at the Lagos Stadium, saying the coach’s presence should give the home-based players a morale booster and a hope of being selected to play for the Super Eagles.
Speaking to eyeonthenews.com during Wednesday’s NPL Super 6 Play-Offs, Iloenyosi did not mince words as he categorically said Peseiro’s job will be on the line if he says none of the players currently taking part in the Play-Offs in Lagos are not good enough for the Super Eagles.
.Peseiro: His contract as Eagles’ Coach expired last month.
Iloenyosi, popularly known as ‘The Geberal’ said: “I’m happy to join other stakeholders of Nigerian football here in the NPL Super 6 Play-Offs holding in Lagos. We have been brainstorming on the way forward for the game in our country”.
Iloenyosi, a strong defender during his active footballing days, further declared; “I’m in strong support of grassroots football, which is my hallmark back in Anambra State. See the NPL Super 6 Play-Offs we are watching right now in Lagos, it’s a good result of grassroots development”.
“Having said that, I’m happy to see the Eagles’ Coach Peseiro here working with his laptop. I made sure I came here personally to see the players in our top six clubs in competitive situation provided by the Super 6 play-Offs and I’m very impressed with what I have seen so far.
“However, I am going to have a problem if Peseiro fails to invite players from this Super 6 to the Super Eagles. If that’s the case, we in the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will not renew his contract. I repeat this; If the Portuguese tells us that he cannot invite any of these players we saw in the NPL Super 6 Play-Offs to the Super Eagles? Then, we don’t have a coach and his contract will not be renewed”, a furious Iloenyosi told eyeonthenews.com.
He pointed out that he has personally picked at least six brilliant players featuring in the Play-Offs, who can conveniently fit into the senior national team set up.
The Anambra State FA boss described the current NFF leadership, headed by the President Ibrahim Gusau as a team of serious administrators who want the best for Nigerian football.
“Talking about the President of NFF, Alhaji Gusau himself, he is a no-nonsense man who want the best for our football and that same feeling to lift Nigerian football through our league brought all of us to this Super 6”, Iloenyosi concluded.
Meanwhile, Peseiro included just four youngsters from the players featuring in the NPL Super 6 Play-Offs to next weekend’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Monrovia.
The invited players include defender Chidiebube Duru of Rivers United, midfielder Divine Nwachukwu of Bendel Insurance and goalkeepers Victor Sochima of Rivers United and Olorunleke Ojo of Enyimba FC.
It would be recalled that Peseiro took over as Eagles’ Coach in May 2022. Since then, the national team have been dropping in form despite Nigeria paying him $70,000 monthly.
Out of eight games played so far under Peseiro, the Super Eagles have won just three, lost five matches and recorded Nigeria’s worst performance in over four decades. The Eagles’ shocking 1-0 defeat to minnows and 118th-ranked Guinea-Bissau in Abuja last March in a 2023 AFCON qualifier further put Peseiro’s competence under scrutiny.
In 2022, when the Portuguese coach took over the Eagles, Nigeria was ranked 30th in the World Rankings, but the last Ranking released by FIFA in April, 2023, showed the Eagles now occupy the 40th position in the world.
Coming shortly……If you enjoyed this story, stay with this online newspaper for more stories about Iloenyosi’s football development plans in Anambra State.