Like many, I find it baffling that despite huge public outcry after reigning champions Nigeria’s embarrassingly failed to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea, the team is still stuck with Stephen Keshi as its manager.
In some other countries, the former Mali manager would’ve willingly tendered his resignation immediately after the 2-2 draw with South Africa in Uyo (which all but ended hopes of making it to the tournament) or worse still be sacked by the football authorities, whose tenures would have been dented by such embarrassment.
Keshi, who has been without a contract since July has been telling anyone who cares to listen even before the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil that he has been getting offers from numerous countries including South Africa (who are thanking their stars at the moment for appointing Shakes Mashaba) and oil rich Angola to take over their teams.
Things are always different over here or how do you explain the fact that the President (who already has too much on his plate) ordered Keshi to be returned to his post after he was sacked for woeful performances in the first four matches in the AFCON qualifiers and as it stands would you expect anyone else to try sacking him again after the number one citizen has spoken?
Now, the NFF Officials are threading carefully on the issue of the gaffer’s future in order not to irk President Jonathan who has clearly shown his preference for the former Eagles skipper to be in charge despite outrage from millions of Nigerians who feel a change is necessary in order to galvanise the team once again.
What Eagles need at this time is a technically sound manager, a real student of the game who possesses an eagle’s eye for the little details unlike Keshi who during last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup admitted to not even doing research on opposing team, Haiti, before a game, which is really poor judgement on his part, in this era of technical football as former chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (now NFF) Kojo Williams opined after Nigeria’s ouster from the inter-continental competition last year.
“I just think that we were technically bereft and to show how disgraceful and incompetent we are, Keshi, in the days before the match against Tahiti, said that he had no knowledge of Tahiti. He said he had never seen anything of them before. Imagine such a statement from a coach, who lives in America. Couldn’t he have gone online to search for materials on Tahiti? Tahiti were champions of Oceania and Keshi didn’t know how to get tapes of their matches after his counterpart from Tahiti said he watched clips of the Eagles at the Nations Cup” Williams said.
To be honest, I wouldn’t mind having someone like Sunday Oliseh or Patrick Kluivert, though both haven’t been really tested in terms of big, full capacity coaching roles, they know the nitty-gritty of the game and eyes for detail (both have UEFA and FIFA grade A coaching licences) would do a surgery of the Eagles before we play any serious football again.