Posted by News Express | 27 March 2014 | 3,943 times
Super Eagles Coach Stephen Keshi has been queried by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in what informed sources described as part of a plot to stop him from leading the team to the 2014 World Cup holding in Brazil from June to July.
The query, News Express was told, is in connection with Keshi’s attendance at the TomTom Editors’ Roundtable held in Lagos on Tuesday, during which he spoke at length on how he is preparing the African champions for the World Cup. Though TomTom is a sponsor of the Super Eagles and the Roundtable has been held four times in the past for previous Super Eagles coaches, the NFF is said to have taken exception to Keshi’s attendance.
“I have seen the query and I can tell you that this is part of the desperation by some unpatriotic NFF officials bent on doing away with Keshi’s services before the World Cup,” one reliable source close to the coach told News Express this afternoon. The source disclosed that the query was signed by NFF’s Assistant Secretary General, Technical, Emmanuel Ikpeme.
Meanwhile, an online paper, Gong News, earlier today quoted an unnamed NFF source as saying: “If we have our way, Keshi will be stopped from going to Brazil. We offered to bring him a foreign technical assistant but he stubbornly wanted Sylvanus Okpalla that we had declared an enemy of the football house. We did it to Shaibu Amodu and appointed Onigbinde 72 days to the World Cup so why is Keshi’s own not possible?”
Keshi was assistant to Coach Shaibu Amodu when their technical crew qualified the nation to the World Cup in the first instance but were stopped.
Gong News reported that “there have been several plans to frustrate the coach to either resign or be made redundant in the processes towards the World Cup. For instance, one of the members of NFF from Rivers State, Christopher Green, has been boasting to anyone who cares to listen to him that the new Sports Minister, Dr. Tamuno Danagogo, is his boy and they have him in control.”
The paper quoted Green telling someone: “We will take him (the sports minister) to Costa Rica where we will finish the job on him.” Minister Danagogo has since flown out of the country to watch the female U-17 World Cup in Costa Rica.
Still quoting a source, Gong News said: “The plan is to make the coach look rude and insubordinate first before the Nigerian public then, use the Minister of Sports to take the same message to Mr President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who we know as Keshi’s number one supporter.
“Keshi’s leave was approved and rather than buy his ticket, he was left in the lurch. By the time the reception for the CHAN Eagles was to hold, he was already out of the country but the NFF now plans to make that event look like Keshi does not have respect for the President.
“However, we have been on the mission to get the coach to deny or confirm the report but his line has been inaccessible. The two SMS messages sent to his known phone line is yet to be delivered before we went to press.
“A foreign coach that would earn $215,000 is in the wings. He was in the Nigeria versus Mexico game in Atlanta. All they need is to wean Keshi off his contract anyhow it works.
“It would be recalled that when Shaibu Amodu was sacked after qualifying Nigeria for the World Cup, the NFF brought in Lars Lagerback on $250,000 three-month contract during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.”
•Photo shows Coach Stephen Keshi.
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