Nigeria: We Sacked Keshi to Save His Life - NFF

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Stephen Keshi

President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick has said that Coach Stephen Keshi was sacked to safeguard him from the wrath of enraged Nigerian fans, who were on the brink of lynching him during Wednesday's 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Sudan.

Pinnick and other NFF Executive Committee members watched with awe, as fans pelted Keshi with water bottles and stones as they demanded for the head of the 2013 AFCON winner at the Abuja National Stadium, venue of the match, which Nigeria won 3-1 to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for next year's tournament in Morocco.

Chants of "Keshi must go:, "sack Keshi" and "we don't want Keshi again" rented the air as fans went overdrive in their bid to get their voices heard by the NFF, who swiftly swung into action in the wee hours of yesterday by axing the former Togo and Mali coach.

And speaking when he paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Dr. Tamuno Danagogo yesterday, Pinnick explained the personal safety of Keshi was considered more important than anything else.

Pinnck, it was learnt told the Minister that he was shocked with the hostile reception of the fans towards Keshi, arguing that it would be dangerous for Keshi to remain as coach in the face of such hostility.

He added that it was the first time in recent years that abuses and stones were rained down on a Nigerian coach by fans.

"It was too much to bear. The fans were coming for him and it was going to be a security risk for us as people had ran out of patience and were prepared to break the law to achieve their aim. Keshi's personal safety was paramount in our decision to relieve him of his duties", Pinnick said.


Former Eagles stars back Keshi’s sacking

A number of ex-national footballers have backed the removal of Stephen Keshi as the coach of the Super Eagles. Keshi who was hanging on with the team on an interim basis after his contract expired in July was asked to go by the Nigeria Football Federation on Thursday.

A former Eagles midfielder, Friday Ekpo, said on Thursday that the sacking of Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi did not come as a surprise. Ekpo told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the sacking of the coach was in the best interest of the country’s football.

He said, “Everybody saw it coming based on his performances and all the rest; not qualifying for the Nations Cup will always speak volumes for the Nigerian people.

“Whether we go (for AFCON) or not, let us put our house in order (and) make sure that things are done properly and then we start all over again. Now that we might not be pursuing the Nations Cup, we should plan and see how we can move the game forward and where we feel that he didn’t do well, we can start to work on for now.”

Ekpo, who was a member of the Super Eagles squad that won bronze at the 1992 AFCON in Senegal, advised interim coach Amodu Shaibu to do the needful.

“Even they (the interim coaching crew) too don’t have much time on their hands, but they should start their work immediately. November is just around the corner for the two-legged game. So, they should make sure that they play their own part. It is not a permanent job for them, but they should equally play a strong role,“ he added.

A former Eagles goalkeeper, Emmanuel Okala, said the decision to relieve Keshi of his duties was in order.

Okala said in Awka on that he had supported Keshi during his early days in the team because he gave his best, but that his performance lately had not been good enough.

“Keshi is talking about sabotage, he should be able to tell us where the sabotage started because we want to know and support whoever is going to be there to be doing the good job he wants to do. We don’t want our team to be sabotaged in any form.

“Keshi did his best, the only thing he did wrong before their Sudan match was his comments on Uche.

“He said nobody should mention Uche anymore to him because maybe he called Uche and couldn’t get him and felt Uche slighted him. He (Keshi) is a father; he should come out and take care of his children because in a family all the children won’t be the same.”

Jonathan Akpoborie told the NFF has to hire a big-name foreign coach, who boasts a good track record.

Shaibu Amodu has replaced Keshi as Eagles coach, but the NFF have announced they will soon appoint a foreign coach for the country’s team.

“NFF must bring a foreign coach with class, a top quality coach, a big name and established coach who has knowledge of African Football and who is ready to develop the game in the country.

“And not bring a mediocre coach who can’t even clean my shoe when we were playing, has no track record in the name of foreign coach. We need a coach who the NFF and even the government people cannot push around.”


Source Nigerian Football News

Posted on October, 17 2014

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