Coach José Peseiro Tops List Of 5 Best Nigerian Football Managers In Two Decades

Peseiro focused on reaching 2023 AFCON semifinal

Nigeria football have witnessed a reasonable amount of football managers come and go; and coach José Peseiro being arguably the best tactician in the last decade; explains.

Football management in Nigeria have witnessed varying degrees of managers, some are highly ranked globally, some ranked in the continent while some get management opportunities on interim basis.

In this article, we’d discuss the best Nigerian coaches of in the last two decades. It’s important to note that the article portrays the opinion of the writer; and is open to corrections with verifiable statistics.

Best Coach to manage in a Nigerian set-up

5. Ikhana ‘Magic’ Kadiri :

Kadiri Ikhana, a highly successful manager in Nigeria’s local scene, ranks fifth in our top five. He first began his coaching career with Elkanemi warriors in 1986 and achieved notable success, winning two league titles with Enyimba in 2002 and Kano Pillars in 2008.

In 2003, Ikhana made history by leading Enyimba to victory in the African Champions League, becoming the first manager to do so. He is known for his outspoken nature and willingness to address any issue, as evidenced by his resignation from Kano

Pillars in 2008 due to corruption in the game. Ikhana’s versatility is demonstrated by his time as the technical director in Niger Republic before returning to Nigeria to coach Kwara United in July 2010. The African club coach who won the Confederation of African Football Coach of the Year in 2003 has the possibility of becoming the national team coach.

However, his relationship with the game’s administrators might be strained because of his unwavering stance on matters and tendency to speak his mind.

Coach Kadiri Ikhana


Kadiri Ikhana, a former football player, has become the first coach to lead a Nigerian clubside to break the CAF Champions League curse. Although not known for his charisma or influence, Ikhana has proven himself to be the top coach in the country.

For nearly four decades, Nigerian clubs struggled to achieve success in continental competitions. However, on December 12, 2003, all those memories were erased when Enyimba FC of Aba, under the guidance of Ikhana, defeated Ismaili FC of Egypt 2-1 overall to secure their first-ever continental title in Nigerian football history.

4. Augustine Eguaveon:

Augustine Eguaveon, also known as Cerezo, is currently the interim coach of the Nigerian national team and also holds the position of coach for the Olympic team. Eguaveon has been praised for his bold tactics of including both local league players and foreign-based players in the national team.

He was a member of the victorious 1994 African Nations Cup squad and was part of the first Nigerian team to compete in the FIFA World Cup. His coaching career began in the national team setup, starting with the under seventeens in 2001, and he eventually became assistant coach to Christian Chukwu from 2002 to 2005.

In 2006, he took over as head coach and achieved a bronze medal at the African Nations Cup in Egypt.

NFF explains coaches and players owed salaries and allowances
Augustine Egueavoen

In October 2020, Eguavoen was chosen as the Technical Director of the Nigerian Football Federation. He later served as the interim manager for Nigeria during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, following the departure of Gernot Rohr.

After Nigeria’s elimination in the round of sixteen against Tunisia, Eguavoen resumed his role as the Technical Director.

3. Stephen Okechukwu Keshi:

Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, a well-known figure in Nigerian football, expressed his interest in becoming the head coach of the Nigerian national team after the position became vacant. Keshi has previously served as the head coach for the flying Eagles in 2001 and as an assistant to Shuaibu Amodu in 2002, during which they achieved a bronze medal at the African Nations cup held in Mali.

Unfortunately, the team and coaching staff were disbanded by the Nigerian Football Federation, preventing them from participating in the World Cup. From 2004 to 2006, Keshi guided the Togo national team, known as the Hawks, to the unexpected achievement of qualifying for their maiden World Cup appearance in Germany 2006.

Stephen Okechukwu Keshi is the first coach to win Nigeria's first ever AFCON in two decades.
Stephen Okechukwu Keshi with 2013 African cup of nation trophy

However, just like his previous experience with Nigeria in 2002, he faced disappointment as he was unable to lead the team to the tournament.

Additionally, Keshi also coached the Mali national team and had the privilege of being Augustine Eguaveon’s teammate in the early 90s. Nigeria emerged victorious in the Africa Cup of Nations in both 1980 and 1994, while also being the runners-up in 1984, 1988, 1990, and 2000.

However, Nigeria was not expected to perform well in the tournament due to a decline in its success over the years, demonstrated by their failure to qualify in 2012.

Nevertheless, under the leadership of new coach Stephen Keshi, Nigeria’s team was rejuvenated with the inclusion of young, domestic players like Sunday Mba and Godfrey Oboabona, as well as international players such as Victor Moses, Vincent Enyeama, Emmanuel Emenike, Brown Ideye, Mikel John Obi, and Uwa Elderson Echiéjilé who played a vital role in Nigeria’s performance during the tournament.

Stephen Keshi, the head coach of Nigeria, expressed that winning the Cup of Nations was primarily for his country. He also emphasized his pride in representing Africa at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

This triumph solidified Keshi’s status as the second individual, following Mahmoud El-Gohary, to have won the Cup of Nations both as a player and as a coach.

2. Samson siasia:

If a countrywide survey were to be conducted to determine the preferred candidate for the prestigious role of super eagles coach, it is true that Samson Siasia would undoubtedly and effortlessly receive the majority of votes.

However, as the saying goes, wishes alone cannot make things happen for the Bayelsa native and former Nigerian football player. Siasia is our top choice among Nigerian coaches who possess numerous qualities, both on and off the field.

In 2005, he took on the coaching role for the national U-20 team, known as the Flying Eagles, but unfortunately lost in the finals to Argentina. He also coached the Olympic team in 2008. However, he returned to coach the U-20 team again in 2009. Currently, Siasia is managing Heartland Football Club in Owerri.

Samson Siasia canvas more game time for Umar Sadiq.
Samson Siasia

He was expected to become the national team coach, but due to the Nigerian Football Federation being dismantled, this decision was overturned, and the position was opened for everyone.

1. Jose peseiro:

It has been two years since José Peseiro took on the role of head coach for the Nigerian national team following their inability to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Despite the fans losing trust in him, the NFF continued to support Peseiro during a challenging period where the country was not achieving desired results.

The Portuguese fostered a strong Nigerian team by combining youthful players with experienced ones in the lineup, making it challenging for opponents to defeat them. One significant improvement he made to the Nigerian squad was including Stanley Nwabili in the setup. Fast forward two years, and Nigeria has reached the finals with the most formidable defense, having only conceded two goals in the tournament.

This final appearance marks Nigeria’s first in the past ten years, highlighting the substantial progress made by the team. Jose after prevailing over Angola, he led the Nigerian national football team, also known as the Super Eagles, to the Semi-finals and finals of the AFCON, consequently propelling Nigerian football in a positive direction.

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