A top official of the Nigeria Football Federation says that Stephen Keshi was not sacked as Super Eagles manager because of the team’s recent failings in the 2015 AFCON qualifiers, as he had been on the cutting board since the World Cup in Brazil.
The NFF chief, who pleaded anonymity, told SR Sports that in the original plan, the coach of the Flying Eagles, Manu Garba, was penciled down as interim coach before last minute politicking saw Coach Amodu Shuaibu emerge to oversee the remaining 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers before an expatriate would be appointed to take over the job full time.
“What Nigerians are discussing the most isn’t news to some of us because Keshi was never considered to continue, we all felt his time was up after the World Cup and we [had] already planned to name Manu Garba as interim manager for the AFCON qualifications before we got permanent hands, so forget all the stories about negotiations going on and off or the bad results in the qualifiers, he was long gone to us before all that,” he said.
This admission by the official may provide fuel for the statement by Keshi that he was being sabotaged. It would be recalled that he continued with the team after the World Cup without a contract, following the intervention of the Sports Minister to enable him continue though the qualifiers.
Meanwhile, the search for a “permanent” coach for the team has continued, despite the objection of many Nigerians who feel the NFF should engage another Nigerian for the job. The NFF is believed to have narrowed down the search to Dutch legend Ruud Gullit but there are also speculations that former Germany captain, Lothar Matthaus, is being considered.