This is How José Peseiro is Following Mourinho’s Footsteps and Proving His Doubters Wrong
José Peseiro, the head coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, is quietly making a name for himself at the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast. The Portuguese tactician has led Nigeria to the quarterfinals of the tournament, with some impressive defensive performances and tactical masterclasses.
Peseiro, who took over the Super Eagles job two years ago, was not a popular choice among the Nigerian fans and media. He faced criticism for his 3-4-3 formation, his lack of experience in African football, and his poor results in the qualifiers and warm-up matches. Some even called for his sack before AFCON started.
However, Peseiro has silenced his critics with his results at the continental showpiece. Nigeria began the competition with a 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea, but then stunned the host nation Ivory Coast with a 1-0 win, thanks to a penalty from captain William Troost-Ekong. The Super Eagles then secured their place in the knockout stage with another 1-0 victory over Guinea Bissau, with Ademola Lookman scoring the only goal.
In the round of 16, Nigeria faced their arch-rivals Cameroon, who had won the AFCON title in 2017 and 2019. Peseiro once again deployed his defensive approach, with three at the back and two wing-backs. This strategy frustrated the Indomitable Lions, who could not find a way past Nigeria’s solid backline. Lookman scored twice to give Nigeria a 2-0 win and a ticket to the quarterfinals.
Peseiro’s success at AFCON has drawn comparisons with his compatriot José Mourinho, the legendary coach who has won multiple trophies with clubs like Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and Manchester United. Mourinho is known for his defensive style of play, his ability to motivate his players, and his knack for winning big games.
Mourinho himself has praised Peseiro and expressed his desire to see Nigeria in the final of AFCON. He told Football.com that he admires Peseiro’s leadership and his clear idea of how he wants to play. He also said that he likes Nigeria’s team spirit and their defensive solidity.
Peseiro has also earned the respect and admiration of his players, who have shown their commitment and dedication to his philosophy. Lamine Ba, a centre-back who plays for Croatian club NK Osijek, said that Peseiro is a man of the people and a leader who makes his players believe, like Mourinho. He also said that Peseiro is very clear about the idea of how he wants to play and that it is up to the players to follow it.
Peseiro has also shown his humility and professionalism, despite the challenges he has faced. He has not complained about his unpaid salaries, saying that money is the last discussion and that he is only interested in helping the team improve. He has also defended his tactical approach to the games, saying that he opted for the right tactics and that he is happy with the results.
Peseiro has a chance to make history with Nigeria, as the Super Eagles are aiming for their fourth AFCON title and their first since 2013. Nigeria will face Cape Verde in the quarterfinals on Monday, a team that Peseiro knows well, as he coached them briefly in 2018. If Nigeria can overcome Cape Verde, they will face either Senegal or Tunisia in the semifinals.
He has already proven his doubters wrong with his achievements at AFCON, but he is not satisfied yet. He wants to go all the way and lift the trophy with Nigeria, like Mourinho did with Porto in the UEFA Champions League in 2004. He has the confidence, the tactics, and the players to do it. He just needs to keep following Mourinho’s footsteps and keep silencing his critics.