By Victor Okoye
Football Stakeholders have called for the immediate sack of Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro following the team’s second consecutive draw in the FIFA 2026 World Cup qualifier.
The crucial matchday 2 Group C encounter of their 10-match qualification series for the 2026 FIFA World Cup was played at the Huye Stadium in Butare.
Nigeria had also laboured to a 1-1 draw against the Crocodiles of Lesotho on home soil on Day 1 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Thursday.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s 2-1 defeat of Benin Republic’s Cheetahs on Saturday means the Bafana Bafana are top of Group C, even before they take on Rwanda in a Day 2 encounter on Tuesday.
Some football stakeholders, who spoke to NAN on Monday in Abuja, said the poor performances recorded by the Super Eagles were unacceptable.
They argued that Peseiro was not the kind of coach for the Super Eagles, adding that it was high time he was relieved of his duties.
Godfrey Gaiya, a former chairman of the House of Representatives lamented that Nigeria should have been a sure bet by public ratings in their group.
Gaiya said that many Nigerians had celebrated the 2026 World Cup qualifying group comprising of Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Benin Republic, Lesotho, and South Africa as easy, going by previous antecedents.
He expressed disappointment in the fact that after match day 2, it was unfortunate that optimism is reducing to skepticism.
“How can a star-studded Super Eagles fight so desperately to secure a draw with Lesotho in Uyo?
“What went wrong that a number 153 FIFA ranked team can stroll into the nest of champions and arrogantly walk away with a point?
“Then to add insult to injury, we fought so hard to hold on to another disappointing draw with 125th ranked Zimbabwe.
“What hope do we now have especially after South Africa who are always a potential threat to Nigeria, gallantly defeated Benin Republic,” he said.
Gaiya said the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) under Ibrahim Gusau had been doing its best so far, there was a need for a push and competent guidance from a well-coordinated secretariat.
He said that the Super Eagles current squad was star-studded but far from being a team, adding that virtually every department was leaking, with the goalkeeping almost always a disaster.
“No wonder some fans are already asking for the return of 39 years old Vincent Onyeama to return to the team.
“In Uyo, however, it was not so much about goalkeeping, but worst still the failure of the attack.
He warned that the over reliance on purely foreign based players to execute matches would not qualify Nigeria for the 2026 World Cup.
The former lawmaker said that the match against Lesotho should have been played by six home based players in Uyo.
“We must learn from Super Eagles former coach Clemens Westerhof or a former player like Amokachi.
“We seriously need prayers in our next match against South Africa.
I must confess that the Eagles are not super yet,” he said.
Mouktar Mohammed, Chairman, FCT Football Association, said the recent poor performances recorded by the Super Eagles calls for deep soul searching.
“We are walking a tight rope.
This last result makes it very difficult for us now.
“We have a lot of work to do to get near perfect results from June 2024 when the qualifications resume.
“We need to look deeper into the problems why our Super Eagles are not tops in Africa.
A lot of questions need to be answered,” he said.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers resume in June 2024 with Nigeria hosting South Africa, current leaders of Group C, before travelling to an away game against Benin Republic.
NAN also reports that with the 2026 FIFA World Cup having an increased 48 teams in the running, Confederation of African Football (CAF), which previously had only five slots, now have nine direct slots.
There is also a provision for one additional slot for the 10th team which will play in the inter-confederation play-offs.
A total of 53 teams will be competing for the 10 slots from Africa.
The 53 teams are divided into nine groups of six teams each, with one group only having five teams.
These teams play a home and an away game with each of its group member.
At the end, the top team in each group will qualify directly for the World Cup filling up nine slots already.
Meanwhile, the four best second placed teams from all the groups will then be drawn into a mini-tournament with two semi-finals and final.
The winner will be the representative of CAF in the inter-conference play-offs.
The one qualified team from CAF will play in another mini-tournament with the one team each from CONMEBOL, AFC, OFC and two teams from CONCACAF.
The two top teams from this tournament will fill the final slots of the 2026 World Cup.
Edited by Joseph Edeh