Stephen Keshi, who was sacked on Saturday as head coach of Nigeria’s Super Eagles, is threatening to file a case against the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) at the FIFA Court of Arbitration.
Mr. Keshi was fired over allegations that he applied for a job to coach Les Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire. The former Super Eagles coach denied seeking the Ivorian coaching job, according to a report prepared by the NFF disciplinary committee following a meeting attended by Mr. Keshi before his sack. However, the NFF insisted that the embattled coach did not present enough strong evidence to prove his innocence.
Subsequently, the NFF considered the coach’s alleged application for the coaching job in Cote d’Ivoire as a breach of contract. The Nigerian football governing body therefore felt justified in removing Mr. Keshi, who led Nigeria to the AFCON Cup, without giving him any financial compensation.
The NFF’s report disclosed that Mr. Keshi appeared before the disciplinary panel regarding the allegation against him, adding that the coach declared that it was not true that he, his agent or anybody acting on his behalf applied for the vacant position with the Les Elephant of Cote D’Ivoire. But the football body stated that the sacked coach “did not back his statement with any evidence.”
The report stated that the sacked coach’s contract had stipulated that he “shall not engage in any other service or business whatsoever during the term of his employment and shall, unless prevented by ill-health, devote all his time and attention to the service of the NFF as may be necessary for the proper exercise of his duties.”
Despite the evidence against him, Mr. Keshi maintained he did not apply for any job. The coach, who previously coached in Mali and Togo, indicated his intention to take his case to the FIFA arbitration process in order to claim his entitlement and seek justice.
Mr. Keshi is the second African coach to have won the African Cup of Nations both as a player and coach (1994 as a player, and 2013 as a coach). The only other person was the now late Egyptian, Mahmoud El Gohary, who won the trophy in 1959 as a player, and later won it again as a coach in 1998.