Will Peseiro be Nigeria’s first coach to lose debut game in 28 years?

Will Peseiro be Nigeria’s first coach to lose debut game in 28 years?
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José Santos Peseiro


New Manager, José Santos Peseiro, the first Portuguese to handle Nigeria’s national football team is set for his debut on Saturday as the Super Eagles face Mexico, a CONCACAF team they had faced five times since 1995.

No handler of the Super Eagles had lost a debut appearance since Amodu Shaibu led the team to a respectable  1-0 loss to England at the old Wembley Stadium 28 years ago on 16 November 1994.

Ever since, Nigeria’s worst results had been drawn games as recorded by Adegboye Onigbinde in his first match after his return. That was on 26 March 2002 in a London match against Paraguay when he fielded an entirely experimental side after he was named Nigeria’s coach a second time.

Coincidentally, he was named the coach in succession to Amodu Shuaibu on 18 February 2002, exactly 19 years after he made his managerial debut with the then Green Eagles who played a goalless draw with Egypt in Lagos.

  Since the Onigbinde era, every succeeding coach averted a defeat in their debut except the late Chris Udemezue whose team was walloped 5-0 by Tunisia in a 26 September 1985 friendly match in Tunis.

Paul Hamilton, his successor had a goalless outing in an All Africa Games qualifier against Cote d’Ivoire in Lagos. His successor, Germany’s Manfred Hoener who incidentally shared the same 31 July 1941 birthday with him, won his maiden match for Nigeria – a 3-0 defeat of Kenya at the 1988 Afcon in Rabat, Morocco.

  The first coach to lose a debut game since Onigbinde was Clemens Westerhof. Nigeria lost 0-1 to Cameroon in an Italia’90 qualifier in Yaounde.

  When Bonfrere Johannes replaced Amodu Shuaibu in September 1995, his first assignment was the Afro/Asian Cup contest with Uzbekistan. Nigeria won the away match 3-2 as Nwankwo Kanu scored his first ever goal for the Super Eagles.

  In March 1997, Philippe Trouiser was named Nigerian coach and won his first match 2-1, a World Cup qualifying game with Guinea. Daniel Amokachi scored the two goals and never scored for Nigeria since.

  Monday Sinclair who was assigned on interim basis to handle Nigeria to an LG Cup duel in Tunisia won his first match in charge, a 1-0 defeat of Cameroon on 7 August 1997.

  Journey-man, Bora Milutonivic made his Nigerian debut with a 1-0 defeat of Iran on 28 January 1998 in Hong Kong during the Carlsberg Cup. Patrick Paschal scored his last goal for the Super Eagles during the tournament.

Dutchman, Thijs Libgret.s took over after the France ‘98 World Cup. In his first assignment, he drew goalless with Burkina Faso in a later cancelled Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Ouagadougou.

  Other coaches of the Super Eagles who averted defeat in their maiden games are Christian Chukwu (goalless with Angola) in 2002, Eguavoen (1-0 against Libya in 2005), Berti Vogts (1-0 against Uganda in Abeokuta), Lars Lagerback (0-0 with Saudi Arabia at Alpenstadion), Keshi’s team drew 0-0 with Botswana in Benin, the same result that Oliseh attained with Tanzania in Dar es Salam. Gernot Rohr won his first match with Nigeria, a 1-0 defeat of Tanzania in Uyo.

  Will Peseiro also avoid a losing debut with Nigeria? The answer comes on Saturday when his team face Mexico in Dallas, United States.

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