I
really do not have the time and patience today so I’m not going to write pretty
neither will I play with words the way I am wont to do sometimes.
Stephen
Keshi on Monday announced his resignation from the national team of Nigeria also
known as the Super Eagles and cited the fact that his employers basically had
little or no confidence in his abilities to do the job.
He
was also quoted as saying before the final game on Sunday that “After
the final on Sunday, I don’t know if I am still going to be in Nigeria or not,
someone else might be building the team”
It
is no longer news the shouting match that occurred within the ranks shortly after
Nigeria’s opening draw against Burkina Faso between some Nigeria Football
Federation big wigs and the coach of the tam, Stephen Keshi.
“In
fact, at a time in that meeting, Keshi got so angry he told off the NFF people
and asked for his return ticket home as he was ready to quit the job at that
time,” a source told naijafootball247.com.
However,
after the 2nd game was played against Zambia and it ended 1-1, Nigerian
sports ministry and Football Federation officials had lost patience with the coach
and held a meeting to determine the way forward for the national team.
An
impeccable source told naijafootball247.com that there was an agreement to
contact a foreign coach to take over from Stephen Keshi after the group stage
matches of the AFCON since it didn’t seem like the team would go past the group
stage.
The
internet and social media was at that time already awash with statistics that
Keshi had not gone past the group stage of the AFCON with two previous tries
with Togo and Mali.
Another
statistic on social media, though wrong was that Keshi had never won an AFCON
game as head coach before.
All
these were to convince Nigerians that he was not up to the job and to make the
impending announcement of his sacking easier to swallow.
An
agent contacted to do the job spoke with two Dutch coaches, Ruud Gullit and
Frank Rijkaard and both, our sources tell us agreed in principle to take the
job pending further discussions with the NFF.
“The
agent submitted both names to the NFF and apparently they decided on Gullit and
soon he was in South Africa ready to take up the mantle as Super Eagles coach.”
Keshi
got wind of this and that was why at every turn he spoke against unqualified “white”
coaches in Africa.
“The
whole idea was to announce Keshi’s sack as soon as the game against Ethiopia
was over and proceed to introduce the new coach, Ruud Gullit to the players
while a date to regroup ahead of next month’s World Cup Qualifying game would
be announced to the team.
The
NFF had it all figured out but each time they planned to announce Keshi’s sack
he won a game, like he did against Ethiopia, then Ivory Coast, then Mali and
then Burkina Faso.
“Again,
Keshi got to know all of these but he didn’t blow his top. He just did his job
while hitting out at unqualified foreign coaches in Africa whenever he had a
chance to speak with the press,” our source continued.
When
the Super Eagles eventually beat Ethiopia to qualify for the quarter finals
against the Ivory Coast, the disbelief within the ranks of the NFF was so great
that they allegedly procured return tickets for the team dated Monday, the day
after the match because they thought Nigeria would lose to the Ivory Coast and
since then it had been no love lost between the NFF and Stephen Keshi.
The
NFF have however denied that they ever booked return tickets for the team the
same way the sports minister has denied that he ever instructed anyone to
contact a foreign  coach
Our
source maintains that Keshi was angry that a coach was approached while he
still had a job to do and brought in to South Africa to take over from him and
believes that he was sacked even though the announcement was not made yet.
“His
reasoning is that if he had lost to Ethiopia, his replacement was there to take
over and the announcement of his sack was just not made because he kept on
winning until the final,”
Another
version says the NFF wanted to bring in Zambia’s coach, Herve Renee to take
over from Keshi and the Big Boss was angry that a coach that did not even
qualify from Nigeria’s group was being spoken to for his job.
In
any case, Keshi says he was sacked in South Africa.
Keshi
may be on the flight to Nigeria to attend the president’s banquet but it is not
because he has rescinded his decision to quit but that he just did what no Nigerian
has ever done and deserves to celebrate with the team and attend the president’s
ball.
Though
discussions have taken place between Keshi and key figures in the presidency as
well as the sports minister, Keshi has only agreed in principle to be in Abuja and
has not officially withdrawn his resignation.
Perhaps
on the more than four hour long flight to Abuja there would be more horse
trading and in Nigeria, leading to the banquet more discussions will take
place.
Whether
he changes his mind after that is a different matter entirely.
Keshi
has been able to prove some points to Nigerians since he became Super Eagles
coach in November 2011.
He
does not like being bossed around. Of course he is the Big Boss.
He
has a mind of his own.
He
does what he wants and faces the consequences.
He
does not reason like other Nigerian coaches.
If
he decides to move on, Nothing Spoil (as is said in local parlance here in Nigeria)
and if he decides to stay, good for the team and the work he has started.
But
whichever way he decides to swing he should realize that we have World Cup qualifier
next month.
He
needs to get back to training the Eagles or the Ivorien national team as the
case may be.
NB
At the time of writing this piece, key NFF board members and sports ministry officials were airborne so I did not even bother calling for reactions.
When they read this, rather than threaten to kill me like one of them has done in the past, they can call and give me their reactions that will be published.
You can’t keep issuing death threats because of football. I have some of them on tape and will soon go to the police if it continues.

9 COMMENTS

  1. No man can kill you because no man created you. But if it comes to that, is it not better to die speaking the truth than to die a coward?
    I think this is when we will tell the NFF that non of them is better than us in sports administration.

  2. Well done China!… Truthful piece.. I like the "balls" you and Keshi have shown. You guys are clear examples of "men of courage".

    On a lighter note,Whatever you and Keshi are smoking or drinking,I want a double dose of it! ;).
    Anyway,I know you don't drink at all….

    • Tola, I don't know what you are drinking or smoking to think I'm drinking or smoking something. But I tell you the truth, I'd love to take a sniff of whatever Keshi is smoking. He is a very courageous man

  3. Good decision by Coach Keshi. All those white or foreign coahes have nothing to offer our dear national team…let's support our our pple & see what it 'll be in the end. Up Keshi, Up eagles, Up Nigeria.

  4. So we now have thugs in the NFF that threaten journalists ? Shame really. Now that Keshi has shamed his detractors in the NFF, he shouldn't let pride set in. Nigerians want him there but those who threaten other people's lives should be exposed before they really hurt someone and hurt our football.

  5. I strongly and actually believe This is one of the best Football blog in Nigeria;and I commend China for that.
    As for the issue of unwarranted Threats from some evil minded and corrupt officials of the Nff, I think should be reported to the police immediately for security sakes, I rilly thank China for revealing d true mystery to keshi's sudden resignation, bravo and more grease to your elbow.

  6. Good piece China, love the article. However, i do not agree with your source that "…and they decided on Gullit and soon he was in South Africa ready to take up the mantle as Super Eagles coach.". I think that this erroneous.Gullit was one of the analyst of Super Sports at AFCON and we both know that these things are planned and scheduled before the tournament gets underway, so how come, Gullit was contacted and immediately traveled to South Africa. This is not meant to diminish the quality of the article though, as i said earlier, good piece!!!

  7. Adolphus, questions would be raised and few answers will be dug out. Gullit? Was he on the initial AFCON shortlist for Supersport? Or did he just join the studio later? then again, The timing of his arrival in South Africa coincided with an agent contacting him for the Nigeria job. Was it purely coincidence? Stranger things have happened. I know Gullit was contacted for the Nigeria job and Keshi's sack was to be announced after the loss to Ethiopia which never happened. Let me stop here. There's a lot of mess in Nigerian football. One blog can't write it all.

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