Mixed Reactions Greet Keshi’s Sack



Opinions are divided on the sack of Stephen Keshi as coach of Nigerian Super Eagles

NIGERIANS from different walks of life differ on the sack of Stephen Keshi as coach of Super Eagles of Nigeria, July 4, after discovering that while still working for the country he also applied to coach Cote d’Ivoire’s national team

Nigerians are divided over the sack of Stephen Keshi as coach of Super Eagles. Keshi’s contract was terminated on Saturday by the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, who discovered that while he was still in its employment applied to coach the national team of Cote d’Ivoire.

He was also accused of inviting to the Super Eagles’ camp a non-league player for the Nation’s Cup qualifier against Chad in Kaduna. In relieving him of his job, the NFF said Keshi lacked “the required commitment to achieve the federation’s objectives as set out in the coach’s employment contract.”

Reacting to the sack, Christian Chukwu, former Super Eagles coach, said Keshi invited his own downfall because he had the opportunity of leaving the position honourably when it became obvious that the NFF no longer needed his services.

Chukwu said he had previously advised Keshi to leave when it became obvious that he was hanging on to the position because of the influence of some people in the former President Goodluck Jonathan government.

The former Nigerian football captain, however, said the NFF had the right to sack Keshi, saying: “Coaching job is all about hiring and firing and I hope Keshi will take it in good faith.”

In the same vein, Patrick Ekeji, former director-general of the National Sports Commission, NSC, said it was obvious that the federation had no confidence in the coach. “They lost confidence in Keshi long time ago, and when you don’t have confidence in your employee, there is no way you can work together,” Ekeji said.

“I said it before that they should take a decision on time and I am happy they have done that. They should start looking for a new coach immediately and if they already have one, he should resume without any delay.”

But Kojo Williams, former president of the NFF, heaped all the blames on the NFF board, whom he accused of lacking in professionalism. Williams said right from the start, the NFF was not comfortable working with Keshi and that it handled his contract in such a shoddy manner. ‘’There are many issues at stake in this matter. One was the choice of Keshi in the first place. He was not the choice of the NFF, having failed to qualify the Eagles for the 2015 Nations Cup.

If they were professionals as they claim, why did they not sack Keshi when the security man was still on the job,’’ he said.

Williams view tallies with that of Dickson Adejube, a former member of the Board of the NFF, who faulted the rate at which the federation had been removing the national team coaches. Adejube criticised the frequency of removal of coaches in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, while reacting to the latest termination of the appointment of Keshi.

Adejube said the terminations would bring negative repercussions because of a lack of continuity in the nation’s football management. The NFF had recently announced the terminated of the appointment of Edwin Okon, a former Super Falcons Coach.

“This is badly timed; a time that we are preparing for competitions, coaches are being sacked. This is the time the NFF is supposed to sit down and think of how to move the teams forward. You will see the repercussion, and we will have ourselves to blame in the end,” he said.

Mark Uzomba, a sport enthusiast, said it was not only Keshi that deserve the ignominy. Uzomba said: “The NFF should also be sacked as our girls and boys brought results of shame in the last two world cups. The NFF forced coaches who had no ideas about modern soccer on our talented boys and girls and they had to bring home to Nigeria results of shame. Real shame, indeed! The NFF should be sacked and former national players should run it… Please save Nigerian Soccer.”

Trouble started for Keshi after he led Super Eagles to victory against Chad on Saturday, June 13. The 53-year-old coach was accused that he put a non-league player on the bench and his name also appeared on the FIFA website as one of more than 50 coaches applying to fill the vacancy left by Herve Renard, who quit as coach of Cote d’Ivoire.

Keshi appeared before the NFF disciplinary committee on Tuesday, June 23, which investigated the matter. “Everything went well, the NFF will talk to you on that but everything went well. Like you guys know, I never applied for the Cote d’Ivoire job,” Keshi said after emerging from the committee meeting headed by Christopher Green in Abuja.

In the meantime, the NFF has asked Shuaibu Amodu, technical director of the NFF, and Salisu Yusuf, Keshi’s assistant, have been asked to handle the Super Eagles in the interim. Keshi had barely spent two months in his two-year contract when his contract was terminated Saturday, July 4.

—  Jul 6, 2015 @ 16:20 GMT


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