Keshi Smiles at Last

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Keshi

The Nigeria Football Federation gives Stephen Keshi another two-year contract to coach the Super Eagles

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  May 4, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

STEPHEN Keshi, 53, Super Eagles coach has cause to smile broadly at last after the controversy that trailed the renewal of his contract.  On Tuesday, April 21, both Keshi and the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, signed a new two-year contract that will enable the former to manage the football team which has long been without a substantive coach. The NFF re-appointed Keshi after 10 months of uncertainty over his future with the team.

After the signing ceremony in Abuja, Keshi said: “It’s a fresh start. We need the support of our fans, media and every Nigerian to return the team to where we truly belong. As a coach and former player I was also hurt that we failed to qualify for the last Nations Cup. I remain confident that this time around we will see an improvement, change in attitude and positive results. To succeed we all need to come together as one because Nigeria belongs to us, this is not Stephen Keshi’s team but our national team,” he said.

The first time Keshi coached the Super Eagles, he won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations but the deal was not renewed after the 2014 World Cup. He later returned on a match-by-match deal, which ended in November 2014, after failing to reach the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. Keshi’s third spell in charge will see a few changes in his backroom staff as Daniel Amokachi, former assistant coach has been dropped. His place will be taken up by Salisu Yusuf former Kano Pillars coach.

The NFF set several targets for Keshi which if he fails to achieve his contract will be terminated. Keshi was also required to sign a code of conduct and is expected to work with the NFF technical committee.

Felix Anyansi-Agwu, NFF technical committee boss, said: “The NFF board is confident Stephen Keshi can take the Super Eagles to new heights. We want Nigerians to see this as a new beginning and to support the team and the NFF.”

As caretaker coach, Keshi endured a turbulent 2014, in which he was sacked by the NFF and only reinstalled after intervention from Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan. His last two home matches in Abuja and Akwa Ibom were marred by a negative reaction from the public and Keshi has pleaded for the home supporters to be positive during the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers.

The Super Eagles have been drawn in one of the toughest-looking groups, alongside seven-time champions Egypt, Tanzania and Chad.

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