How Keshi was recalled to lead Eagles

How Keshi was recalled to lead Eagles

Friday, October 31, 2014 6:39 pm

Stephen Keshi: how he got his Eagles job back

Stephen Keshi: how he got his Eagles job back

Stephen Keshi has been re-appointed as coach of African champions Nigeria despite being sacked earlier this month, in the latest twist in a long-running battle for control of the country’s football federation.

Keshi led the Super Eagles to the African title in 2013 but was sent packing on October 16 after a string of poor performances, including a surprise defeat away to Sudan.

The story of how he was recalled for the job began with the reported intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan, who asked the Amaju Pinnick led NFF to give the coach a new contract.

This set in motion other acts: Shuaibu Amodu,the man named by Pinnick to lead the Super Eagles after Keshi’s firing, came out in favour of Keshi’s return for Nigeria’s upcoming matches.

The caretaker coach said he did not have enough time to remake the squad that his predecessor had shaped. This contradicted his several newspaper interviews that his consortium of coaches could perform the miracle to qualify Eagles for AFCON 2015.

On Friday, the NFF technical committee said it had “decided to accept” Amodu’s proposal for Keshi to be re-instated for Nigeria’s next Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Congo and South Africa in November.

NFF President Pinnick said he will not oppose Keshi’s return.

Many believe that protracted political battles inside the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) were behind his dismissal and his eventual reinstatement.

The new NFF boss Amaju Pinnick, who emerged on top after an extended power struggle within the NFF, is seen as a Keshi rival, while the sports minister Tammy Danagogo is known to be a supporter of the outspoken coach.

“I have never had anything against Keshi as a person. Amodu is someone we all respect and since that is his opinion and the technical committee has approved, so be it,” Pinnick said.

“I am also assuring Nigerians at home and abroad that the NFF will give Keshi all the necessary support to successfully prosecute the two very crucial final matches of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series,” he added.

Nigeria need to not only win both matches but beat Congo by a margin of two goals to stand any chance of automatic qualification for the finals in Morocco next year.

Keshi’s return seemed to suggest that the power struggles inside the NFF will rumble on, with the body’s leader accepting the return of a coach he had ousted.

Meanwhile, Keshi announced the recall of Spain-based striker Ikechukwu Uche for the two upcoming qualifiers.

Keshi had left Uche out of the 2014 World Cup squad, reportedly for defying team strategy, in a move which sparked furious debate among Super Eagles fans.

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