The proverbial cat with nine lives Stephen Okechukwu Keshi will make a return as the head coach of the Nigerian senior national team; the Super Eagles if ‘reports’ emanating from various online media is anything to go bye. Surprised? Shocked? Dismayed? Astonished? You can go on and on with the adjectives to describe how you felt upon receiving or listening to the news that the self styled Big Boss would be returning to complete the qualification phase of the 2015 AFCON slated for Morocco.
It is no longer news that we have two factions in the new NFF with Amaju Pinnick and Ambassador Giwa both claiming and seeking legitimacy in running the affairs of Nigerian football for the next four years with a supposed FIFA ban dangling over our heads. Is the Amaju Pinnick led board conceding the reinstatement of Stephen Keshi as part of conditions to remain as the legitimate and duly elected board of the Nigerian Football Federation? Does this not not show that the Amaju Pinnick led board is incompetent? What does Ambassador Chris Giwa gain from relinquishing his purported mandate?
What compensation packages were discussed in the so called peace talks? How far did the Presidency have to bend to stop this impending disaster that we call football administration? Does this not constitute Government intervention? These and many questions will either remain unanswered or we will have answers to them in the coming months; however, I would like to narrow my sights on the potential return of Stephen Keshi.
In the eyes of many Nigerian’s this NFF board may already start looking incompetent, why? The sacking of Keshi was the major pronouncement of this board as it swung into action to move our football forward. I have in the past supported their stance to potentially replace Keshi with a foreign manager, which I think is right as we need to take our football to the next level. Now, this sole pronouncement has now being supposedly nullified by the presidency, it sends a wrong message to the populace and also to Keshi if he takes the job back. Keshi may start to think that he his bigger than the guys in the NFF glass house and not answerable to them; on this basis he would have learnt well from the Clemens Westerhof school of how to manage the Super Eagles and the NFF, taking his problems to a higher authority (the Presidency); since it is clear who dictates the tune.
What’s even more amazing is the purported press release by Amodu Shuaibu asking for Stephen Keshi to return for continuity purposes, stating to be Keshi’s friend and how close they are. Is that supposed to be our business? Mr Man, you have been given a job to do, do it. The level of unprofessional conduct of our coaches, is quite alarming; little wonder why local coaches continue to get shrouded in one corruption rumour or scandal. Where is it done that you would be given an appointment, make some noise about how proud you are to get the job, only to come two weeks later and start campaigning for the return of your predecessor? Only in Nigeria. Come to think of it, whatever happened to the offers from Ghana, Mali, Ethiopia etc? Was Keshi using the press to his advantage?
If I were Keshi, I would not accept the job without an agreed contract in place or at least reopen negotiations. Nigeria has just shown desperation with the recall of Keshi and in a situation like this he can do as he pleases. To manage the Super Eagles again, Keshi must only work on the basis of a contract, all the aces are in his hands; but then what is to say he won’t under the blind patriotism bull he tries to sell us all. Its time to be professional, let us do things the right way.