–Football House insist decision was inevitable
Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigeria Football Federation says the decision to relive Stephen Keshi and his team of their job was in the best interest of Nigerians.
Keshi had been widely criticised for the poor performance of the national team in the qualifying games for the 2015 African Nations cup.
Keshi was sacked in the early hours of yesterday despite leading the Super Eagles to a 1-0 home win against Sudan that kept the team in the running to defend their African title.
The Super Eagles were rock bottom of Group A in qualifying for next year’s CAF Africa Cup of Nations after taking just one point from their opening three matches but a 3-1 win against Sudan in Abuja on Wednesday lifted them to third. Speculation about 52-year-old Keshi’s future has refused to go away since the end of the FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, where Nigeria reached the knock-out stages of the competition.
Keshi’s three-year deal ran out after the return from South America and his record of five defeats, five draws and just one victory in the last 11 matches has only compounded dissatisfaction and led to calls for him to quit.
However, following a 3-1 home win against Sudan on Wednesday and a hostile attitude towards the coach, the NFF executive committee, on Thursday, released a statement, announcing the sack of the coach.
“We did that because we saw a lot of things that had happened in the past, there were issues that bothered about security, from the beginning of the game, we saw that a hero in Keshi was booed from the beginning of the match.
The NFF President also stated that security agents had to interfere because at the end of the match people were running to the pitch.
“We took all this decision to save him and let him know that he’s a hero and should remain a hero.”
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, Pinnick mentioned that the last NFF administration had signed Amodu Shuaibu as the Technical Director of the football federation and he is just to manage the remaining two matches.
‘Appointment of Shaibu Amodu is following tradition of appointing the head of the technical dept to take temporary charge of the team,”Pinnick explained.
He also suggested that the former coach and his administration could go for a refresher courses anywhere which would be sponsored by the NFF, adding that in the future this would help him if he decides to come back as Eagles coach.
Pinnick apologised to the fans for the steps taken, “It is not a decision that is primordial based or playing to the gallery but looking at documentations as it relates to the way forward.”
He also noted that Keshi would be paid all outstanding entitlement within two weeks. He debunked the reports making the rounds that the Super Eagles players played for Keshi and not Nigeria.
“Does it sound right for us to say the boys played for Keshi and not for the nation? So if a new coach comes I now what will they do? We took the decision in the best interest of the nation,’he said.