Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro has blamed fatigue for the Super Eagles’ 1-1 draw with Zimbabwe in their second Group C game of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Rwanda on Sunday, November 19.
Walter Musona had given the home team the lead in the first half with a superb long-range free-kick which flew past goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho.
Second-half substitute, Kelechi Iheanacho, later equalized for the Eagles following an assist from Moses Simon.
The draw means the Eagles occupy second place two points behind South Africa, who will go four points clear if they beat Rwanda on Tuesday.
Reacting to the outcome of Sunday’s match, Peseiro (who has been criticized by Nigerian football lovers as poor tactically) lamented the long trip the team had to undergo to get to the venue of the match.
“The trip from Uyo to here (Rwanda), the bus ride, flight, many hours,” he said in his post-match press conference. “So I think the players didn’t get enough rest to play the level expected.
“First half was very bad, second half was much better but we lacked energy to push for a win.”
On whether the absence of some key players contributed to the team’s failure to record a win: “We missed Osimhen, Ndidi, Taiwo, Zaidu, and Chukwueze, but I think we had enough to beat Zimbabwe.“
The Nigeria Football Federation would fire coach Jose Peseiro if they had the money to pay him off after two poor performances in World Cup qualifiers, according to executive committee member, Nse Essien.
Nigeria’s qualification for the 2026 World Cup is already in serious jeopardy after they managed only two draws in their first two qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Walter Musona scored direct from a free kick to put Zimbabwe ahead in the first half and Leicester forward Kelechi Iheanacho equalised midway through the second half.
Portuguese coach Peseiro has been singled out for criticism for the Super Eagles’ slow start to qualification.
“If we had the money (to pay for compensation), we will be willing to relieve him of his job, we’re not happy,” NFF member Essien told reporters.
“Everybody is asking for the sack of the head coach. It’s unfortunate that from a possible six points we only have two points. We’re in a very precarious situation,” he added.
South Africa lead Group C of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers with three points and will be expected to widen the gap on Tuesday when they visit Rwanda, while Lesotho host Benin in South Africa.
Nigeria, who failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, have two points from two matches.
The qualifiers will resume in June 2024 with Nigeria hoping to make up lost ground when they welcome South Africa to the southern city of Uyo, before a tricky trip to Benin.