The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been in dilemma about making a pronouncement on Keshi since the Super Eagles crashed out of 2015 AFCON, ostensibly due to the fact that President Goodluck Jonathan influenced their decision to recall him after they initially ‘sacked’ the Big Boss.
Keshi’s contract as Super Eagles head coach came to an end after the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil last summer. The NFF were free to decide whether they wanted to retain Keshi’s services or not, but they wallowed in crises, till the current board controversially emerged.That was after the coach was asked to take charge of the team, on contract basis, in the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers – without a substantive employment contract.
What do you make of the Presidential fiat in the Keshi situation? Was the President’s intervention a blessing in disguise or one which could derail Nigerian football?
A school of thought believe that national team coaches enjoying protection from the ‘powers above’ encourages insubordination from such coaches and could have dire consequences on how the Football Federations relate with their coaches who are supposed to be employees of the ‘Football House’. Do you agree? Would President Jonathan’s demand for Keshi’s stay ensure continuity and stability in the Super Eagles, and foster good work relationship with the Federation and players?
The crisis that rocked the NFF which almost caused a global ban on football for Nigeria by FIFA as a result of the incessant court cases that the NFF were involved in, was thankfully resolved by President Goodluck Jonathan who influenced the embattled Amaju Pinnick- led NFF board to recall Stephen Keshi.
What lessons do you feel could be learned from the Presidential ‘mediation’?
However before President Jonathan’s directive, Keshi had literally scored a point against Pinnick and his board when a factional President of the NFF, Chris Giwa, went public with his decision to recall the then ‘sacked’ Keshi as the FIFA-recognised NFF had opted to replace him with former Eagles coach, Shuaibu Amodu, on an interim basis.
It is on record that Amodu claimed that as the Technical Director, he advised the new NFF board against disengaging Keshi as Super Eagles coach. Amodu said then that he wasn’t keen on accepting the interim job as he believed it was important that Keshi completed the 2015 AFCON assignment. Amodu said he however accepted it later when it became obvious that the Pinnick led board was adamant on disengaging Keshi.
Amaju Pinnick has tried to launder his board’s soiled image in the whole Super Eagles job saga. He reportedly claimed that they recalled Keshi based on Amodu’s advise and recommendations, not on President Jonathan’s directive.
Curiously, the NFF has not said anything: whether they are extending Keshi’s contract or otherwise after failing to qualify the Super Eagles for the 2015 AFCON. The NFF is in some sort of crossroads. What do you think is the way out and forward for Amaju Pinnick and his board?
After winning the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa, Keshi was on air in a South African radio station to announce his resignation from the Nigerian national team for what he perceived as lack of support and sabotage from his bosses. He reportedly flaunted interest in his services from some countries.
Is Keshi deliberately daring the NFF now just because President Jonathan influenced his recall? Is financial incentive possibly a reason for his stay put attitude now?
Samson Siasia was sacked for not leading the Super Eagles to the 2012 AFCON. Wouldn’t Keshi’s resignation in the aftermath of Nigeria’s 2015 AFCON failure been honourable? Conversely, Siasia has been appointed the new U23 national team where he has a chance to rebuild his reputation. Perhaps Keshi also wants to do same with the Super Eagles now. Do you agree?
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