Stephen Keshi Resigns as Super Eagles coach
There was anxiety last night over Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi’s future.
There were reports that the coach whose team ended a 19-year painful wait for the African Cup of Nations trophy, resigned his difficult but glamorous job “for some irreconcilable differences” with his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The report could not, however, be confirmed from either the coach or the NFF.
But Keshi’s brother in-law and media consultant Emmanuel Ado said in an electronic message in Kaduna that the coach resigned because of what he called lack of unity in the football family.
Ado said: “Stephen Keshi has asked me to announce his resignation as the national coach with immediate effect. His reason is the lack of unity in the football family. It has nothing to do with the late payment of his salary or lack of house or car. It is the lack of unity in the football family.
“He is grateful to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for his support.”
Keshi, 51, was a long standing captain of the Super Eagles. He won the Cup of Nations in 1994. He was the assistant coach of the team under former Dutch coach Johannes Bonfrere when the team won the Silver medal at the Cup of Nations in Lagos in 2000.
Keshi coached the Eagles to the victorious outing in South Africa 2013, having earlier coached the Togolese and Malian teams to the Cup of Nations without success.
According to a report on Super Sport yesterday, Keshi announced his resignation on the radio show of respected South African journalist and presenter, Robert Marawa, on Metro FM yesterday afternoon.
Keshi told Metro FM, part of public broadcaster SABC: “I did what I feel is right by resigning. I gave the NFF a letter last night (Sunday) after the celebration.”
The South African journalist posted on his twitter account @robertnarawa after having the coach as one of his guests on his radio show: “Stephen Keshi has just announced that he handed over his resignation letter after the game exclusively on 083Sport@6with Marawa on Metro FM.”
Keshi was said to have explained his reason for resignation by claiming that he was already sacked as the team’s coach before the quarter final clash over Cote D’Ivoire.
He last week hinted of leaving when he said: “It does not really matter what people think about what Stephen Keshi is doing. The most important thing is what I’m doing here and passing on to my team. If back home in my country, they don’t appreciate what I’m doing with the team, so be it.
“You can’t force somebody to love you. You can’t force somebody to accept you. It has to come from within,” he said.
But Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi denied knowledge of Keshi’s resignation.
He said yesterday: “I just read it on Supersports.com couple of minutes ago and immediately I called the Nigeria Football Federation President, Aminu Maigari who claimed ignorance about the matter.
“Maigari told me that he has not received a letter of resignation from Keshi and the story was rumour and unfounded”.
Keshi did not pick his telephone calls last night.
But a top official of the Nigerian Premier League, who was at breakfast with the Eagles and Globacom boss Dr. Mike Adenuga in Johannesburg, said last night:
“I was there this morning when the NFF chairman said he would like to be Oliver Twist, that Keshi had no house in Abuja, no official car and Adenuga told them to write him officially when we get to Abuja.
“They told them about the millions that Dangote has given. See what Adenuga has given. Only a stupid person will have all these and resign.
“Before the competition, there were misgivings, but not now. I don’t think it is true. It is no true. Right now they are at the Nigeria House for a reception.”
Keshi is reportedly miffed that his entitlements were left unattended to.
According to Sporting Life, The Nation’s sister publication, he said he had his resignation letter which he hopes to submit after having a closed door conversation with President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House in Abuja today.
“I want to tell you that I have decided to resign as the Head Coach of the Super Eagles. It is a personal decision which I have made, because I don’t think I can work with the present leadership of the NFF, I have tried to the best of my ability to put smiles on the faces of all Nigerians, but the present NFF members are not satisfied with what I am doing. They always threaten me with sack on daily basis. I think this is the best time for me to call it quits. When we get to Nigeria on Tuesday, I will give them my letter, and would relate same to Mr President when we meet with him later on that day”, the Big Boss said.