‘Okocha & NFF begged me but…’ Why Pitso refused Super Eagles job

Celebrated South African coach Pitso Mosimane was one of the tacticians considered for the Super Eagles job when Jose Peseiro's contract expired at the end of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations where his team claimed silver.

The Portuguese had failed to deliver the trophy and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) saw it wise to let him leave.

Many top managers were considered for the vacant coaching coach, but it was Finidi George who was eventually handed the mantle to help the Super Eagles in their quest to qualify for the 2026 Fifa World Cup. 

However, the Nigeria legend collected a point in his last two qualifiers – after a 1-1 draw at home with South Africa and a 2-1 loss away against Benin. 

South Africa fans

Why did Mosimane refuse the Nigerian job? The man couldn't betray Mzansi!

In his interview with SNAWA, the 59-year-old has revealed the NFF desperately wanted Mosimane to steer them to the World Cup but the former Mamelodi Sundowns coach couldn't just do it.

“The calls were coming from Nigeria, the talks were there; Jay-Jay Okocha was leading this thing, he was begging me, but you know South Africa and Nigeria were in the same group,” the tactician stated.

“It’s not too nice, it's unpatriotic because I want to see my team in the World Cup. I didn’t consider the Nigeria job because of my emotional attachment to South Africa.”

Super Eagles: Pitso Mosimane talks talent, tactics, and the quest for stability
Nigeria players dejected after loss during the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers match between Benin and Nigeria at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan, Cote dIvoire on 10 June 2024 ©Alou Dao/BackpagePix – Photo by Icon Sport

But wait…

Mosimane, however, says he could have considered leading Nigeria against South Africa only if there was a concrete offer from the West African nation.

“Work is work; you can never refuse a chance to coach [Samuel] Chukwueze, [and Victor] Osimhen, those players are unbelievable, those guys are top talents.

Nigeria never put a deal on the table, it was just talks, they only called me from the Federation.  “In football, a contract must be on the table and signed. If that is not really happening, then there’s no deal,” he concluded.

Mosimane is currently a free agent but he has been linked to Kaizer Chiefs and Wydad Casablanca.

‘Okocha & NFF begged me but…’ Why Pitso refused Super Eagles job
Willis Sob

Willis Sob is an experienced journalist who has been in the game since 2009, covering major assignments around the continent.
His hunger for African football is unmatched, always getting the best angles and facts to feed the fans and quench their thirst.