Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Sunday Dare on Wednesday charged the new Head Coach of Super Eagles, José Santos Peseiro to make the squad a blend of the very best of professional players based at home and abroad, saying the Ministry will assist in the rebuilding process by providing a conducive environment for the Portuguese to use his best efforts and endeavour to restore the confidence of football –loving Nigerians and the Government in the Super Eagles.
At a brief but colourful ceremony in Abuja, where the NFF formally presented Peseiro to the Government of Nigeria through the Sports Ministry, Dare told the gaffer in no uncertain terms that Nigerians want their National Teams to win every game, even though this is an impossibility in sport. “Whenever the team does not win, it must be clearly seen to have demonstrated high-level commitment, fervour, consistency and discipline on and off the pitch.
“In order to be able to appreciate the deep love of our people for the game and why they want their team to win all the time, you have to live in our country, enjoy our food, our weather, our hospitality. I want to let you know that the process that produced you was governed by diligence, commitment and spirit of team work, and indeed very thorough.
I believe that you will use this opportunity to make a mark by leading the Super Eagles to new heights.” The Minister then told Peseiro to ensure a solid win for the Super Eagles against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Abuja on Thursday, in a Day 1 encounter of the qualification series for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Earlier, NFF 2nd Vice President Shehu Dikko, who stood in for President of the NFF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, thanked the Minister and the Sports Ministry for support and guidance during the process that produced Coach Peseiro, and reiterated that the Portuguese ticked all the boxes for the Federation having coached in four continents, worked with big clubs and big players and demonstrated a keen desire to work with the Super Eagles.
While the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar challenged Peseiro to work assiduously hard and with passion to achieve his mandate, NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said he has been impressed with the Portuguese tactician’s training methods and work ethic, prior to the friendlies with Mexico and Ecuador in the United States of America.
Peseiro, on his part, thanked the Government and people of Nigeria for the opportunity to tinker the Super Eagles, and said he is fully committed to the objective of winning the Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire next year summer.
“I have always loved the Nigeria team, ever since I watched them play at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States. It is a team with solid pedigree. Presently, we have both quality and quantity of players and it is always a good situation for any team.”
Also at the occasion were the Chief of Staff to the Minister, Alhaji Abba Abdullahi Yola; NFF’s Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire; Special Assistant to the Minister, Mary Onyali; Super Eagles Team Administrator, Dayo Enebi Achor; SA (Multimedia) to the Minister, Toyin Ibitoye and; Media Assistant to the Minister, Kola Daniel.