In from Nifemi Daniel…
Barring any last minutes change, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has concluded plans to sack and replace embattled coach, Stephen Keshi, with Amodu Suiabu who currently heads the NFF’s Technical Department.
Ripples .com.ng can exclusively report that some powerful eggheads in the NFF are bent on sacking Keshi who was instrumental to the removal of one of them as the head of the Technical Committee, the body that screens the Super Eagles team list for any match.
Keshi, last week, appeared before the NFF’s Disciplinary Committee over allegations that he had applied for the job to coach the reigning African champions.
The former handler of the Mali and Togo national teams denied that he had applied for the position previously occupied by Frenchman Herve Renard, who has joined French first division side, Lille OSC.
The 53-year-old’s agent, Emmanuel Ado, who negotiated Keshi’s contracts with the Malian and Togolese football associations, as well as all of the former Super Eagles’ skipper’s dealings with the NFF, denied sending his client’s CV to the Ivoirian Football Federation, but did suggest that the purported application with the Ivoirian FA might have been the hand work of ‘freelance’ agents who may have acted independently to cash in on his client’s clout if eventually the deal pulls through.
The NFF nevertheless said it would further investigate the matter with a threat to sack Keshi if it eventually emerges that he did apply for the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire job.
“Championing Keshi’s sack is a former head of the Technical Committee who is from the South-South region who felt Keshi was very instrumental to his removal which has rendered him irrelevant and powerless in decision making in the NFF,” our source informed Ripples.com.ng.
Meanwhile, former Super Eagles midfielder, Emeka Ezeugo, feels the NFF’s threat to sack Keshi if it eventually gets proven that the Super Eagles handler did apply for the vacant coaching position of the Ivoirian national team is a non-issue.
Ezeugo also warned that the issue, if left unchecked, could deny the Super Eagles a place at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ezeugo, who is currently on a nationwide walk from Port Harcourt to Kaduna to garner support for Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, however cautions the NFF against over flogging the issue as it could come back to haunt them.
“This is a non-issue,” Ezeugo said. “Keshi has denied having anything to do with the Cote d’Ivoire job and I am sure the Ivoirians will no longer be interested in him after that statement, even if they were previously interested in having him.
“So why cause further distractions by over flogging this matter.
“What everyone should be working towards is getting us to qualify for the next African Cup of Nations after missing out on the last edition
Ezeugo, who featured alongside Keshi in the dominant Super Eagles side of the mid-1990s that won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations and qualified Nigeria for her maiden FIFA World Cup appearance, added: “A lot of Nigerians are still livid that we missed the last tournament and I don’t want to imagine what might happen if the team fails to make it to the next tournament.
“I don’t think anyone would be willing to listen to this (Keshi’s issue with the NFF) as the excuse for the team’s failure to qualify. I think this issue shouldn’t have been brought to the public domain; it should have been resolved quietly. But it’s not too late to end it now before things spiral out of control.”
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