Keshi Apologises To NFF Over AFCON


Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has made a public apology to his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation, over their public spar especially in the closing days of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

He said, “If I did something that they (NFF) didn’t like, then I say I’m sorry. If I did hurt (Aminu) Maigari (NFF President) by my action, then I’m sorry.”Keshi, who spoke on live phone-in programme on cable television SuperSport, said it was in the best interest of the country that they forged ahead and forget the sour side of the tournament concluded in South Africa on February 10. He spoke on Monday night.

The coach had been accused in several other platforms of turning the fans against the federation with his decision to announce his resignation just after the competition ended in Johannesburg.

But Keshi who had maintained he was pushed to react in that manner by a few members of the federation said he had used every opportunity he had since the tournament ended to thank the federation.

“It was not the entire federation that I had problems with; one or two members were very unprofessional and were meddling in matters that should solely be for the coach. I was told so many things like I did not carry out my substitutions well; I should have been on my feet screaming while the match against Zambia lasted. And so many funny ideas from those who believe they are also coaches,” he said.

Keshi said that he had for long endured such antics as the thought of sacking him started right after Nigeria qualified for the Nations Cup last year in Calabar.

“I can still work with the NFF; the relationship with the board members is wonderful,” he added.

On some of the players who could not play in South Africa, Keshi said, “I can call on some of the stars like Obafemi Martins, Kalu Uche, Osaze Odemwingie and the rest of them if they are willing to play one off games. But the problem is always the long term. Osaze is a very good player which I’ll love to have in my team but he has character problems because he wants to do what he wants to do.

“Shola Ameobi came in with a spirit of togetherness like a coach. He showed me what I was looking for in a player.

Martin is still part of the goal; if his name comes up, then he’ll play.”