Keshi Demands Respect From NFF


Coach Stephen Keshi has rescinded his decision to resign his post as coach of the Nigerian football team, Super Eagles, just hours after leading the Nigerian team to their first Africa Cup of Nations crown since 1994.

According to reports, Keshi granted a South African radio an interview shortly after winning the coveted AFCON trophy where he disclosed he had made up his mind to quit after Sunday night’s defeat of Burkina Faso, following disputes with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

Keshi told journalists at the airport in Abuja on February 12, 2013 he was pleased with his latest decision. “I am pleased to say that I have reconsidered my position and have decided to continue with my job,” Keshi said in a statement.

The 51-year-old, who became only the second man alive to win the Nations Cup as both a player and coach flew home from South Africa on Tuesday with the rest of the team amidst a hero’s welcome full of praise chants.

Keshi had on Monday told South African radio, Metro that he had informed NFF officials that he no longer wanted to continue working with them, citing frustration as well as lack of support and respect on the part of the NFF for his reasons, although he never submitted a formal letter of resignation.

After an emergency meeting with Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi in the early hours of Tuesday in Johannesburg however, Keshi rescinded his decision to quit.

“While I have had cause to express my displeasure over some issues that happened in the course of our (Nations Cup) participation, especially concerning my relationship with the NFF, I have since had opportunity to discuss the various issues with all concerned,” his statement said.

“I want to thank the Honourable Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, for his swift and kind intervention.”

In an interview with BBC Sport, the Nigeria coach explained how he had been upset by news during the group stage of the competition that he was set to be replaced.

“A coach’s job is to be hired and then fired, so that doesn’t really matter,” Keshi told the BBC.

“The only thing that annoyed me was that there was no respect in all this activity – because even if you are looking for a coach, you still have to let me know that this is what you are going to do.”

“I am not really angry but they need to show me a little bit of respect. Because I am a black person and also a Nigerian, they think they are doing me a favour by allowing me to coach the Super Eagles.

“They are not doing me a favour because I am working day and night (to succeed) and we thank God that we have the cup and that Nigerians are happy.”

In his reaction, NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire denied the allegations, saying they were false.

“Rumours were flying around during the group games but no one can prove these things. The NFF continues to support and back the coach amidst all this media speculation,” he told BBC Sport.


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