HomeSportsI know how to manage pressure from 200 million Nigerians – Peseiro

I know how to manage pressure from 200 million Nigerians – Peseiro

Super Eagles coach, José Peseiro, whose contract with the NFF expired on Thursday, in this interview with talks about the pressure of managing Nigeria’s national team, his experience at the last Africa Cup of Nations, his relationship with Africa and his future with the team

First of all, how are you? Were you able to rest a little after the African Cup of Nations?

Yes, I rested and I am still resting. My contract ends in two days. The AFCON was an exhausting tournament, I must admit. We did a good job, me, the staff and the players. There was a lot of energy expended.

It was an AFCON with a lot of strong emotions. How did you experience this competition on a personal level?

It was a fantastic experience. It was my first AFCON. Some of my colleagues told me that it is different from other tournaments. The context changes. And I felt it. It was full of emotions. The public’s enthusiasm is unique. There was also some great competition. All the teams and players gave their all for their country. And African football was able to display all that it has in qualities. There was also a lot of pressure on the teams, not just from their fans but from their countries as well.

And what differentiates the AFCON from other tournaments you have played like the Copa America (with Venezuela) or the Asian Cup (with Saudi Arabia).

In terms of atmosphere, it is incomparable. Already, with Venezuela, there was none at all because we were playing during the Covid period. The stadiums were empty. In Asia, it’s different. I believe that here in Africa, there is greater proximity with the supporters or even the media. Which makes it more alive. But that also means there’s more pressure. And when it comes to the football produced, it’s different too, that’s for sure. The level of commitment and standards are different. This can be seen in particular with matches that are more open. Even teams that are less technically well equipped manage to provide beautiful football through the enthusiasm and commitment they offer. And then, it must be said that there are very good players in Africa. 90 per cent of them play in Europe, in very good championships. And the Europeans may be pretending not to be interested in this tournament, but I can tell you that they all have their eyes on it.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. How do you manage popular pressure when you are Nigeria coach?

For me, considering my age and the experience I have, it’s not that difficult. I prepare in advance. I knew it. The media and social networks can have a positive side for our lives, but sometimes it is negative. But we have to be understandable. And also accept it, because we can’t change anything. Sometimes it wrongly criticizes us and it’s not pleasant, and it’s not only in football that we see this. But I can bear it. I never respond to criticism or fake news. It’s not easy playing for the Super Eagles. It’s a heavy jersey to wear. Not like the others. You have 200 million Nigerians behind you. And who put pressure on you and complain. Sometimes they also use bad terms when talking about players. Against me too, but I know how to manage. On the other hand, when it comes to the players, it upsets me. Because the players feel it and they suffer from it.

Do you enjoy the work of a coach more than that of a club coach?

These are different contexts. I like both. Before, I liked clubs more because we are in contact with the players on a daily basis. But I adapted to this new role as coach. I would say that I love both jobs equally. Coaching also means choosing players, watching a lot of matches throughout the week. But in both cases, we remain a coach. It’s the best activity in the world. It’s very motivating and it gives us a lot of emotion. In fact, the most important thing for me is the project.

What can we wish you for the future?

Earn. I would like to play in the World Cup, I would like to work in England, work in Brazil… I have already been to many countries. Nine countries and four continents. All the experiences I’ve had, I’ve enjoyed. Because there were connections and emotions, even in the teams where we did not have good results. I would like to continue working, with projects where we will be able to aim for success. And where I will continue to do my job.



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