New Super Eagles manager Jose Peseiro has come out to back his players from the onset ahead of his first official match in charge of the team.
After meeting with his new squad and staff for the first time on Tuesday, he has been working to prepare them to face Mexico and Ecuador in the two friendlies before their first 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifier game against Sierra Leone.
The Portuguese tactician was speaking at the press conference ahead of the first of the friendlies against Mexico when he stated simply that mistakes from players he picked should be blamed on him.
This is coming after the first and second choice goalkeepers of the Super Eagles, Maduka Okoye and Francis Uzoho pulled out of the squad citing lack of mental preparedness to play international football again.
Okoye and Uzoho errors
Okoye's first major mistake in the Nigerian jersey cost the team their chances of progression in the 2021 AFCON tournament held in Cameroon last January.
The German-born goalkeeper took a step in the wrong direction before a shot left the feet of Tunisia forward Youssef Msakni to beat Okoye, who could not get down on time to stop the shot and dump Nigeria out of the tournament in the round of 16 stage.
Uzoho was in goal for the third round of the CAF 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers between Nigeria and eternal rivals Ghana. A similar error saw Ghana's Thomas Partey beat the Cyprus-based goalkeeper at his near post to hand the Ghanaians the lead. Nigeria drew the match but CAF's away goals rule handed Ghana the World Cup ticket.
Players must feel confidence of coach and staff – Peseiro
Peseiro, who struggled to replace both goalkeepers as well as a few others who pulled out of the team for various reasons, had this in mind when he was answering questions from journalists at his first pre-match press conference in charge of Nigeria.
“When they attack some players because they commit some mistake. In my opinion, they did not commit big mistake,” he said. “If any player commit a mistake and he doesn't feel the protection of the coach and the staff like he should, he loses confidence.”
“Shout is normal, kill all the players who commit mistakes. One day, who are the players we will have to play? They must feel from me and the staff the confidence.
“Who is the one who is guilty? The coach or the player? It is the coach every time. If I choose my players that will play, Ifni train them and if I put in my mind this guy can play well with our team, if he play bad or if he commits mistake, who commits the mistake?
“The coach must accept the mistake, not the players.”
This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago