The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Alhaji Aminu Maigari, today ordered the NFF Technical and Development Committee to intervene in the on-going war of words between Super Eagles’ Head Coach Stephen Keshi and Captain Joseph Yobo.
An exchange of words between the two principal characters in the Nigerian squad has dominated the media in the past few days, with Yobo expressing unhappiness with the Coach over his exclusion from last month’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kenya in Calabar.
Maigari ordered the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Chris Green, along with his Committee, to look into the issue as a matter of urgency and restore harmony.
“This is a highly untoward development and the NFF and entire Nigerian football family are disturbed,” he said. “Less than two months ago, we lifted the Africa Cup of Nations in a blaze of glory, and this was made possible by hard-work and team-work in an atmosphere of peace, unity and tranquility.
“The recent exchange of words between Coach Keshi and Captain Yobo is worrisome, at a time that we have so many important matches and major competition (FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013) ahead of us.”
The NFF President also cautioned the nation’s mass media against over-sensationalism of the matter, reminding them they are important stakeholders in the game. “Such issues attack the fabric of the team and tend to destroy team spirit, which is key to achieving set goals and objectives,” Maigari said.
Nigeria, the champion of Africa, has a heavy schedule of about 10 matches in the six weeks between the end of May and the middle of July.
The Super Eagles take on CONCACAF champions Mexico, who are rated 15th in the world, in a friendly in Texas, USA on May 31, and immediately travel to Kenya and Namibia for 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Two weeks later, they travel to Brazil to take part in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup where they could play a total of five matches if they progress beyond group stage. They will then face a 2014 African Nations Championship two-legged fixture against Cote d’Ivoire.