Revealed: Why Nigeria Were Truly Right To Have Sacked Stephen Keshi

Sacked Nigerian coach, Stephen Keshi

Sacked Nigerian coach, Stephen Keshi
Sacked Nigerian coach, Stephen Keshi
Stephen Keshi was sacked from his role as Nigeria coach on Thursday, bringing an end to his three year reign despite his side’s 3-1 win over Sudan a few hours before. In his place, Amodu Shaibu, a former national team trainer, has been handed the job of leading the Super Eagles to their remaining 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month before a replacement is found. Keshi was told to go after the African champions could only muster four points from four matches in the qualifiers, thereby putting in jeopardy the nation’s quest to defend the title won last year in South Africa.

The 52-year-old, who also took Nigeria to the second round of the World Cup in Brazil, was kicked out alongside his assistants Daniel Amokachi and Ike Shorunmu. One of the factors that led to the sack of Keshi was his desire to exert his authority as the head coach of the Eagles without due recourse to other peoples’ opinion. It was the sole factor former coach Samson Siasia failed as boss when he considered himself to be above the board and thus took decisions unilaterally without consideration. It was on this premise that Siasia was asked to go and that a more humane manager would be found. The one that would know how to manage the ego of his players without necessarily clashing with them.

Keshi was the supposed messiah and he started work as such when he invited almost all the Eagles’ players to the national team in order to measure how good they were and judge who would fit-in with his strategy. Nigerians praised this bold move and he even endeared himself more to those that gave him the job when he said he would raise a formidable home-based team and that these players would fight for shirts on level terms with those abroad. He later digressed and, just like those before him, the foreign-based players had their ways into his heart while leaving the domestic ones in the lurch. There were also concerns in the NFF that Keshi would not listen to advice from the technical committee on who to call up and what tactics to play since he won the Afcon in South Africa. This was only going to end one way for the coach.

Another sin of Keshi was handing call ups to players that were of no relevance to the national team. His sticking to these players proved to be a worthy venture in some cases, but this ensured there was a lack of competition for places in the team. Keshi picked avoidable quarrels with some of his best performers and called up those that were not up to scratch as their replacements. This ensured that he kept fielding Emmanuel Emenike, who last scored for Nigeria in October 2013, while ignoring more in-form strikers like Ikechukwu Uche and Obafemi Martins ahead of the World Cup. There were also questionable call ups for Shola Ameobi, Reuben Gabriel and Michael Uchebo going to the World Cup.

Former Super Eagles player Garba Lawal recently made this known succinctly in an interview with Goal: “Keshi has allowed sentiments to becloud his judgment and because of this he should be allowed to go. The Eagles deserve their best legs but it would be difficult for the Big Boss to offer this with the way he is handling the team presently.” Public anger against Keshi reached unprecedented heights after Saturday’s defeat in Khartoum to Sudan. Fans saw a team that lacked the zeal to win and took it out on the coaching crew that was seen as lacking in technical depth. When the team returned from Sudan, they were booed at the Abuja airport and almost attacked physically but for security agents.

There were also protests by fans at the stadium on Tuesday, with many carrying placards asking “Keshi Out”. The NFF saw this as their coup de grace to finally edge out the coach who had fallen out of favour in many circles. It was obvious that the NFF was not interested in keeping Keshi on the job after the World Cup, as they held off renewing his contract which expired in June. And his sack was only delayed due to the internal problems within the federation which ensured that a new board was not in place until the end of September. It was the first big task for the new board led by Amaju Pinnick, who is publicly not a fan of Keshi. Hence, Thursday’s sack was long in coming. The main backers of Keshi could no longer keep him safe and he had to go.

Keshi led the Eagles to the Afcon title in 2013 in South Africa and he was in charge of the team for the 2013 Confederation Cup and the 2014 World Cup both in Brazil. He also supervised the Eagles to a bronze medal in their maiden appearance in the 2014 African Nations Championship. It was a competition meant for players who ply their trade in their domestic leagues. He led the CHAN Eagles to qualify for the competition also after the country had failed to pick a ticket for the past two editions. The 52-year-old also secured the Eagles’ first victory at the World Cup since France 1998 and it was during his reign that Nigeria secured a place in the second round of the 2014 World Cup.

The NFF has taken the best decision possible based on the prevalent situation to ask Keshi and his assistants to go while giving room to another set with different sense of approach to tinker the team for the next two matches. Nigerians won’t forgive the present board of the NFF if the Eagles are unable to defend the trophy won last year at Morocco 2015 and all efforts must be geared towards ensuring that Nigeria defeat Congo in Brazzaville and also beat South Africa comfortably in Uyo next month to ensure that a ticket to Morocco is assured.


6 thoughts on “Revealed: Why Nigeria Were Truly Right To Have Sacked Stephen Keshi”

  1. Although Keshi is unnecessarilly arrogant but could have been educated on flexibility and be given little more chance because hire and fire will never developed our football..

  2. Although Keshi is unnecessarilly arrogant but could have been educated on flexibility and be given little more chance because hiring and firing will never developed our football..

  3. who will not receive the same embarrassment, can”t we sit down and council ourselves on some little error instead of hire and fire.One competition one coach will not help us..

  4. It may have been easy to look for excuses to remove Keshi but it does not look like his replacement is any better. In coaching, it’s one thing to have a game plan and the players to execute it properly. If we have a board that will always interfere with the coachi’s work, then whatever gains Keshi has been able to achieve will soon be lost.
    For Keshi, l am very sure that he will not remain idle for long as other countries who know his worth will engage him.
    If we have a coach that can be tossed around by any board, it will only spell doom for our football. Check out his achievements and let us know how many local coaches have performed that well. Let the board tell us what has been their new choice’s performances of late.


    It was crystal clear to rational thinkers and unbiased judges to conclude that Stephen Keshi’s appointment as the head coach and manager of Nigeria National Soccer Team was made under duress. Here is the reason. Keshi’s personality is dimetrically opposed to the so called NFF brass’s. His so called employers. The master servant relationship that pervades every employment in Nigeria was never going to suit Keshi. This creates a divide between NFF brass as employers and Keshi as employee. Most important is the fear that with Keshi at the helm of the coaching crews the usual corrupt activities of some of the NFF board members will be curtailed. This actually happened during Keshi’s reign as the head coach of the Nigerian national men’s football team. For example Kehi made it absolutely clear to the NFF brass that he will not tolerate any interference in the selection of the national team and he stuck to his words. These and personal dislike for Keshi by some board members of Nigeria Football Federation made Keshi’s appointment as the Super Eagles coach very tenuous. This is very unfortunate. Clearly, self interests have overridden national interest here.

    Because of blind selfish interest by those who maneuver themselves by foul and corrupt means into position of authority as Nigeria Football Federation administrators, the entire football programme have been thrown into chaos and disarray. Because they bring zero knowledge to the office they strive and aspire to, they stagnate the growth of football as a sport in Nigeria.

    Over a period of seventy five (75)years Nigerian football has undergone an incredible turnover in coaches personnel. Nigeria has employed 42 football coaches or managers during this period. Of the fourty two (42) football coaches employed only nine (9) or (10) were Nigerian national. They are Dan Anyam employed for a period of two (2) year at different time for a total of 4 years. Eto Amechina employed for a period of one (1) year duration. Festus Onigbinde employed for a period of three (3) and one (1) year for a total of four (4) years. Udemezie employed for a duration of two (2) years. Hamilton employed for only one (1) year. Ekeji employed for only one (1) year. Amodu employed for a stagggered period of one, one,one, and 2 years respectively for a total of five (5) years. This is excluding his recall to head a consortium coaching crew just now. Eguavieon employed for a period of two (2) and one (1) year interval for a total of three (3) years. SiaSia employed for just one (1) year. Stephen Keshi employed for a total of three (3) years. This excludes his employment as an assistant coach to Amodu in 2002.

    It is mind buggling that in more than seventy five years of football administration in nigeria ten of her nationals have had the opportunity to manage her national men’s football team. The Nigeria Football Federation can not boast of being responsible for training and ensuring the advancement of any of these coaches to a world class standard. It is even more shocking and shameful that at a time in the United States of America where there is a battle being fought to remove the last bastion of impediment, characterised by discrimination against black men and women because of their skin colours in availing black coaches and managers the opportunity to be employed in managerial and coaches positions in sports businesses and organizations Nigerians have to endure the sight and sound of some nincompoop with the nomenclature of sports editors issuing ultimatum to the Nigerian Football Federation to fire Stephen Keshi and for the Nigeria Football Federation to immediately hire a foreign coach. This is a shame in this day and age.

    This writer is bouyed by the knowledge that there are rational thinkers in the football congregation in Nigeria. Jay Jay Okacha’s statements stands out. Nigeria’s football is long gone. Relieving Stephen Keshi and his crews of their position as Super Eagles coaches and managers will not solve core problems eating and destroying the training and growth of players as well as the advancement of football administration in Nigeria. Onigbinde has said it over and over again. I paraphrased his words here. “He said it is impossible to develop and produce world class players where there is no infrastructure in place to train young lads and lasses” He went further when he said “football administration in Nigeria will remain stagnant where you have cow slaughterers and capenters who knows nothing about football being fraudlently elected to positions of authority to administer a national football programme. Segun Odegbami has written several articles on similar themes and perhaps got into near physical combat to ensure efficient football development and first class administrators are giving the opportunity to run a first class football administration in Nigeria. Cojo Williams has for many years fought the same battle all to no avail.

    There are some within and outside the Nigeria Football Federation who clamour and worked asiduously to ensure that the removal of Keshi and his crew is effected. It is no longer a matter of debate these people have emerged victorious in their clandestine plan. They have have executed their plans to perfection. Indeed have had their pound of flesh. But Keshi and his crew are still standing they are alive and well. Besides they are professionals. So do not cry for Keshi and his boys. Do not cry for me Angetina. I suppose you have all forgotten. There was a time not too long ago when you all clamoured for Shaibu Amodu to be assassinated in the same vein as you threatned to destroy Keshi and his boys. O Say can you see The Flag is still there. Amodu has returned. Can you see he is now your messiah even for twenty four hours. At least for the next two games. You have returned to and eaten your vomits. You should all cover your uggly faces in shame. Leigerback in his parting words said “The only way Nigeria football will advance is through a very long range planning and the implementation of a robust regimented training of local coaches or Nigeria’s football will continue to run in a cul-de-sac.

    As a black man this writer is ashamed by the horde of nincompoop and the deafening chorus and sounds and rendition of foreign coach! foreign coach! foreign coach emanating and parcolation from the so called sport analysts and football experts and journalists. No one should be in doubt here. The word foreign coach is a mere uphemism. It is another word for white skin coach! white skin coach! white skin coach!. But you have done this for 75 years. How long will you allow yourselves to be affected and arrested by that psychological disease called slavery ? O yes the white man’s creation is better. Is there anything wrong in sending Stephen Keshi to UEFA or FIFA training courses anywhere in the world. Other association do this. In any case no white coach or foreign coach will perform miracle or magic and effect any positive change in a culture and tradition like those entrenched in Nigeria.

    Those who run football administration in nigeria need to take an objective not a subjective view of the very many self inflicted problems eating into and destroying the fabric of football sport in Nigeria. If you remain obdurate and refuses to take u-turn for the better, the development and advancement of football in Nigeria will forever remain stagnant. Nigeria may be able to avoid this provided of course that seemingly iindistructible barrier of white coach vs black coach.


  6. Nigeria may be able to avoid this provided of course that that seemingly indistructible barrier of white coach vs black coach is forever eliminated from your thought, lexicon, and banished into the rubbish bin of history.


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