By Jacob Ajom
One week from today, the Super Eagles will host Sao Tome and Principe in Uyo for the last group match of the AFCON 2023 qualifier. Even as the Super Eagles have already qualified for the tournament, there were fears over who would handle the team as Nigeria has no coach.
The contract with Portuguese coach, Jose Peseiro has since expired and talks between the NFF and the coach have been deadlocked as both parties have failed to agree on financial terms. While the NFF are insisting on a pay cut as a condition for renewal of the contract, Peseiro would have none of that. He is bent on his 70,000 dollars a month salary, a sum the NFF has turned down.
With no headway in sight, the Technical Committee of the NFF has swung into action by looking inwards. We gathered that in view of the urgency, the committee has elected to appoint an interim coach to oversee the Super Eagles AFCON qualifier vs Sao Tome and Principe.
This was revealed by a source privy to happenings at the Glasshouse. The source said the Federation was not in a hurry to appoint a new coach or rush the ongoing contract renewal negotiations with the Portuguese gaffer.
“Instead, the NFF will name a coach on an interim basis to oversee the team’s‘ dead rubber’ Africa Cup of Nations last qualifying game,” the source said.
Nigeria has booked a place at the AFCON to be hosted by Ivory Coast but will complete the phase with a clash against Sao Tome and Principe at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
According to the source, NFF technical director Austin Eguavoen will step in to lead the team for the game in Uyo.
Other options considered by the Nigeria Football Federation were Coach Salisu Yusuf and Enyimba International FC gaffer Finidi George.
The appointment will be effected before September 4 when the Super Eagles camp will open in Uyo for the game vs Sao Tome Principe.
Coach Eguavoen handled the Super Eagles as interim coach last year when they crashed out of the 2022 AFCON in Cameroon. On return from the disappointing AFCON, he also failed to lead the team to Qatar as the Super Eagles failed to beat Ghana Black Stars in Abuja.