Former Super Eagles manager Stephen Keshi has thrown a parting shot at Nigerian football, saying the country should stop seeing itself as a serious football nation considering it is still lagging behind in many vital areas needed to attain such levels.
In a chat with ESPN football pundit Colin Udoh, the former Togo and former Mali manager noted, for instance, that but for his intervention, the Akwa Ibom State governor was planning to lay artificial grass on the newly built world-class Uyo Stadium. That venue will host the decisive clash of the Super Eagles with South Africa next month.
“How many good pitches do we have in this country? Keshi queried. We say we are a football nation and we don't even have good training pitches for the national team, or good field to play on. Instead, there are artificial pitches everywhere, even the new Stadium in Uyo, it was when I heard from the governor that they wanted to use artificial pitch that I had to shout and tell him no way. That is how they used natural grass pitch there. But why should I be the one to say it? Where are the journalists?”
He said he was proud of his achievements during his spell as Nigeria’s manager.
“People keep saying I drew a lot of matches. But how many Nigerian coaches agreed to play friendly matches all the time. Or to use home-based players without fear but people don't see that. Every time it's Keshi this and Keshi that. Then they say I always try to use the President against them. President that I cannot even see!”
He also said he was happy that the drama was finally over, as was his family.
“I am not bitter. I'm just disappointed in some of you,” he pointed out, referring to journalists. “Now people can stop talking about Keshi.”
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Football Association, responding to reports that Keshi would be in the country this week to finalise a contract to take over their National team, has denied ever approaching Keshi or getting any application from him.