Posted by News Express | 6 July 2015 | 3,699 times
A cross section of former Nigerian senior international footballers yesterday described the termination of Stephen Keshi’s appointment as the coach of the Super Eagles as hasty. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on July 4 terminated his appointment.
Friday Ekpo said although he was not surprised at the development, the decision was taken at the wrong time.
“It’s not a surprise to me because this issue has been lingering for a long time but the timing is not right. The qualifiers for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is on and I hope this decision won’t affect our chances of qualifying,” he said.
Felix Owolabi expressed his displeasure over the NFF decision to sack Keshi. He was categorical that the decision would adversely affect the country’s chances of qualifying for AFCON.
According to Owolabi, “Something is wrong somewhere and it should be addressed. I heard that allegations were made against him that he had applied for job somewhere. But a report indicated that he was not part of those that applied for the job and they still went ahead and sack him.
“This decision will definitely affect our chances of qualifying for the 2017 AFCON because the new handlers will have to start all over again.”
Tarila Okoronwanta, however, said there was nothing wrong with NFF's decision to terminate Keshi’s appointment, if he was truly found guilty of the allegation against him.
“If he truly he applied for post outside, then the NFF has not done anything bad by sacking him. Nigeria is known for hiring and firing when it comes to football and his case is not an exception. I wish whoever will handle the team all the best and hope they qualify the Eagles for 2017 AFCON,” he said.
Keshi was appointed in 2011 to replace Samson Siasia, who was sacked for failure to qualify the Eagles for the 2012 AFCON.
Keshi was part of the squad that won the 1994 AFCON Cup in Tunisia as a player and headed the coaching crew that won the 2013 edition in South Africa. He had previously handled Mali and Togo National teams.
Keshi’s assistant coach, Salisu Yusuf, and the Technical Directorate, headed by Coach Shaibu Amodu, have been directed to take temporary charge of the team until his replacement is engaged.
•Adapted from a NAN report. Photo shows Keshi.
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