Although it is already a stale news that former Nigerian defender Stephen Okechukwu Keshi was sacked as head coach of the Super Eagles and replaced by his former team mate, Sunday Ogochukwhu Oliseh, what many Nigerians do not know is the actual reason for the NFF’s action on Keshi. The NFF came up with two reasons for sacking the former Eagles Skipper, one, for his involvement in the appointment of a new coach by Cote D’Ivoire having detected his name as one of the shortlisted candidates, two, for inviting an unknown and club-less player and going as far as allowing the young chap to don the highly coveted number 10 jersey while sitting on the bench for the entire duration of the match.
To some Nigerians, these two reasons are enough to fire Stephen Keshi while to those who are ardent sports followers, these are just mere ‘excuses’ aimed at tarnishing the good image Keshi has built for himself in the round leather game as a gaffer. Recall that the Delta-born coach once tutored both the Togolese national team and that of Mali. Anyway, that is not our concern in this edition, what we are about to serve you emanates from sources very close to Stephen Keshi. If information reaching Global News is anything to believe, then Stephen Keshi must have stepped on big toes in the NFF hierarchy during his reign as Chief Coach of the Nigerian senior national team. We were informed that immediately after conquering Africa at the 2013 AFCON in South Africa, Stephen Keshi secretly toured some states of the federation with the trophy without informing those in the NFF who would have probably sent their press crew and cameramen with him.
Keshi was alleged to have met with some selected governors who joyfully received him. It was gathered that Keshi never departed his host state empty handed. Our source hinted us that Keshi was always blessed with either huge amount of money or a landed property. However, as hard as we tried to find out which of the states were involved and the governors, it was all to no avail as the issue is said to be a top secret. Probing our source further, Global News gathered that in all his AFCON Cup presentation tours to the selected states, Keshi got a whopping sum of N6 billion. We were also informed that he was allegedly given the sum of N100 million by ex-Akwa Ibom governor, now Senator Godswill Akpabio. Personally, Keshi is alleged to have also got equal amount of money from telecommunications guru and business mogul Mike Adenuga.Additionally, Keshi was also ‘blessed’ by other top businessmen and women who were proud of his achievement and were all hell-bent in appreciating his effort with huge cash and landed properties.
While Stephen Keshi was busy calculating and gathering together all his monies, top NFF chiefs were on the other hand busy holding several meetings on how Keshi would be booted out if he refuses to ‘dance to their tunes’ and give them their own share of the N6 billion largesse. We were also informed that several calls put through to Keshi by these NFF top men were ignored and this action allegedly prompted them to increase their calls for Keshi’s sack. Before the matter could be resolved, the NFF big boys had achieved their aims and Stephen Keshi himself had jetted out of the country to the United States to be with his family. It was also gathered that the closeness of Keshi to ex-President Jonathan might have been another reason that prompted the NFF to sack Keshi as they believed he might have power above them and would want to use his relationship with the first family to take drastic decision on his own without consulting them.
Again, some segments of soccer fraternity believe sincerely that the employment of Sunday Oliseh was just targeted at embarrassing Stephen Keshi. They affirmed that Oliseh, who has no coaching experience and has never been known as a football coach by many Nigerians who only knew him to be a sports analyst or commentator at Super Sports may definitely fail as the chief coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. To some, Sunday Oliseh should have been employed as an assistant coach to anyone who the NFF would have employed as a coach. It is believed by some close watchers of Nigerian soccer that a man like Shuiabu Amodu should have been employed as the Chief Coach of the team while Oliseh assists him. But since we are in an odd country where many are of the view that Amodu is too old to handle the team, then we would not have a choice but employ an inexperienced Sunday Oliseh. Nigerians forgot that the likes of Mario Zagallo of Brazil, Joachim Low of Germany, Louis Arragoness of Spain etc were all in their 60s and 70s when they won the world cup trophies for their countries and talking about the on-pitch knowledge of Oliseh that may have perhaps given him some advantages, we should not forget in a hurry that one of the most successful coaches in the world today, Jose Maurinho was never a footballer, at least, not one popular football player that we know, but today, he remains world’s most feared and colourful soccer coach. Although Sunday Oliseh may have apologized for a statement he made during his unveiling that only players who are playing regularly in topflight clubs in Europe would make his team, it is generally believed that he is only joking as his mind should be taken back to the golden era of 1994 when he was a member of the Super Eagles then. The question for our ‘head coach’ is, who among his peers were plying their trade in topflight teams then? Anyway, we wish Sunday Oliseh good luck..