President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick has called a lie on insinuations that the Federation is deceiving Mr. Stephen Keshi with a new contract that would never be signed.
“I am shocked at these insinuations because the NFF Executive Committee gave the go-ahead for a new contract with Keshi at its meeting in Uyo last month, and Keshi and his lawyers have looked at the contract agreement and are satisfied with every word in the final draft.
“As a Federation, we have gone ahead to arrange some refresher programmes for Keshi, at nobody’s prodding, and which are meant to enhance Keshi’s knowledge and improve the man’s capacity as a world-class strategist. We woud not be doing that if we are not ready to work with him. No one is forcing Keshi on us. We have sat down with him and he has agreed to all terms that we put down and he is ready to work to lift the Super Eagles back to glorious days.”
There have been dark innuendoes from some quarters following the postponement of the signing of the fresh contract, but Pinnick, who is on a private visit to London, said on Sunday that the contract would definitely be signed early this week.
“There were a few ends to tighten and Keshi himself understands perfectly and is comfortable with the arrangements to have the contract sealed early this week. We are not dribbling him. He won the Africa Cup of Nations with the team and led Nigeria to the Round of 16 at the World Cup in his first term. It is the belief of the NFF that Keshi can still perform at the highest level.”
The NFF supremo called on Nigerian ball fans and Nigerians in general to have faith in the NFF administration that he leads, saying positive results will certainly continue to flow even as the team concentrates on building capacity of various workers in the game and engineering a sustainable football culture in the land.
“We are training referees, coaches and administrators, and yet we are winning trophies in-between. In six months, we have won the African Women Championship and the African Youth Championship, and qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Our men and women teams have also qualified for the 11th All-Africa Games.
“One thing I continue to harp on is the need for match reading and analysis to help our Coaches, and the NFF has already bought into PROZONE’s all-inclusive match analysis software that will make match preparation easier for all our National Teams.”
The former Chairman of Delta State Football Association further called on ball fans to have patience with the administration. “We are doing a lot at the same time to put so many things right for our football, but we need the understanding of our people that everything might not come together in a few weeks or months.
“Funding is one big challenge that we continually face. Presently, we are working assiduously to win more partners in order to achieve a level of financial autonomy. But at the same time, we know that we have to continue with the programme of enhancing the capacity of persons critical to the success of our teams and also ensure work continues on our vision of building sustainable football culture.”
“A third batch of 20 referees, which will bring the overall number to 50, will depart Nigeria for an educational programme in the United Kingdom this month, thanks to sponsorship by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and ARIK Airline. We are grateful to them for their support.”