NFF Asked To Consider Sacking Keshi Before Next Qualifier Match

George Aluo of Sun Newspaper.The Nigeria Football Federation has been asked to consider sacking the coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, before the next 2015 African Cup of Nation (AFCON)  qualifier second leg match against Sudan.

On Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Monday, a sports editor with the Sun Newspaper, Mr George Aluo, said that Keshi’s performance in last Saturday’s match against Sudan was very poor and that the coach deserves nothing but a sack.

He, however, said that the result was not a surprise, as the coach had added five new players to the team in a game that was considered so crucial.

“Eagles were poor. We must be frank about it and their being poor was not a surprise. If you look at the list, you will begin to wonder. Why bringing five new players in a game that is very crucial?

“Five men that had not played for Nigeria before now. You begin to wonder why the coach should be experimenting at a time that we needed to salvage a bad situation after losing a game in Calabar and drawing away to South Africa,” Mr Aluo said.

The woeful performance of the Eagles in the away game in Sudan has generated lots of reactions.

Some Nigerians had attributed the inclusion of the new names to the fact that most Super Eagles players had injuries and were ruled out by the coach.

Take A Walk

But the sports editor said that Keshi had released the list before the players were injured, blaming the coach for the poor performance of the team.

Stephen Keshi
Stephen Keshi appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the team after losing to Congo in a home game in Calabar.

“Keshi is getting it diametrically wrong. So, the result we are getting is as a result of poor planning on the part of the technical crew of the Super Eagles.

“Keshi to a large extent did well before and during the nations cup and there was an element of luck which saw us winning the nation’s cup. Throughout the tournament, the best game we played was against Cote D’Ivoire.

“Since after the nation’s cup, the team had not performed well. The only game we have won since then was the match against Bosnia and after that time, we have not won any game.

“The only match we have won convincingly was the game against Ethiopia,” he said.

He insisted that the board of the NFF should get a technical adviser for the Super Eagles before the Sudan match, stressing that the business of football is about hiring and firing.

“A coach is as good as his last game.

“The NNF hands are tired because Keshi has got godfathers who are working for him. If not for those godfathers by now, Keshi should have been history. He should know that if he is not sacked, he should take a walk.

“He has failed the nation and has ran out of ideas and this is a self-inflicted injury because Keshi is not using some of our players for whatever reasons best known to him. You don’t bring new men from Austria China to come and play for this country where we have people who are playing top flight football in different parts of the world.

“For selfish reasons, Keshi does not want to bring back Ike Uche to the team. Obafemi Martins is scoring goals in America and so many other players that we could call on to come and salvage the situation for Nigeria so why shot the mouth of the team,” he said.

Mr Aluo pointed out that Nigeria was not lacking in players and stressed that the team would have performed better in Sudan if the coach had fielded the best legs.

At the moment, Stephen Keshi’s contract has not been renewed and the sports editor mentioned that the current leadership of the NFF was not a fan of Keshi, a condition that could affect the renewal of the contract of the coach who to a large extent has falling out of favour with football loving Nigerians.

 

World Cup 2014: Nigeria’s Exit Caused By Poor Selection – Hart

Anderson-HartThe exit of Nigeria from the World Cup has been attributed to poor selection and use of ‘peripheral players’ in the biggest football event.

A Sports Editor with the Weekly Star Newspaper and Director of Sports, Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Anderson Hart told Channels Television on Tuesday that the players selected by coach Stephen Keshi were not the best the country had, insisting that players like Ikechukwu Ucha and Sunday Mba should have been given a chance to play in the world cup.

Heart pointed out that most of the players were not regular players in their various clubs.

“Right from the first day I saw the selection I told people that we didn’t have a team.

“We went to the World Cup with players that are peripheral in every respect. Most of them do not feature in their teams. They come in as subs and because of that I am not surprised with what I saw yesterday.

“It is unfortunate that Yobo made his exit from international football with an own goal. I for one, I would not have gone to the World Cup with Yobo.

“There were better players but I think Keshi was trying to replicate the consideration he was given in the USA 1994 world cup.

“Why must people like Sunday Mba be dropped, why must Ikechukwu Uche be dropped?

“Nigeria never went to the world cup with their best players. Ikechukwu Uche, highest goal scorer in the World Cup qualifier games and 14 goals for the Yellow Submarine, and you drop him?  You don’t sacrifice public interest on the altar of personal sentiments,” he said, insisting that Nigerians’ interest should be first in consideration of players.

No Technical Depth

Analysing the performance of the Super Eagles in the match against France that ended in 2-0 in favour of the French team, resulting to the exit of the Nigerian side from the tournament, Hart said that the team tried their best but could not take advantage of the respect that France showed them in the first half of the game.

“There was no attack and technical depth in the game,” he said.

Nigeria scored a goal in the first half but it was ruled out by the referee for an offside call and the sports editor said that Emenike was slightly offside, but that the referee reserves the right to either uphold the goal or disallow it.

“The goal that was disallowed by the referee could be disallowed or allowed by discretion. Just by the whiskers, Emenike was offside and the issue of bonus row also affected the players,” he said.

According to Hart, several issues also contributed to the ouster of the Eagles from the World Cup one of which, he said was the controversy and agitation surrounding the non-payment of the players’ bonus.

“Yobo told his team mates that it takes four months for players to get their bonus after World Cup. This is not normal and this should be addressed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF),” he said.

The sport journalist insisted that the Super Eagles were playing for self and not for the country.

“They were playing to get attention from clubs and not committed to the country’s interest”.

After the Super Eagles lost to the French side, coach Stephen Keshi resigned, saying he needed time for his family.

His exit has created a vacuum that the NFF would need to make a choice of a new coach to replace him and Hart said that as much as he supports the appointment of a local coach, a technical adviser should also be employed to handle the technical aspect of the team.

“I believe in local content but I think NFF needs to put their house in order to ensure that there will not be distractions of internal wrangling and bonus row because such issues have its toll on the team,” he said.

On individual performance of the players, Harts pointed out that the removal of Onazi due to injury weakened the midfield left in control of Mikel, who he said proved to people that the likes of José Mourinho who keep him on the bench were right .

“Mikel in this World Cup proved to most of us that he is not an attacking midfielder. He was a shadow of himself in the World Cup. He was like a Hummer jeep with a Jetta engine.”

For him, Vincent Enyeama made 23 saves in the World Cup, a record that no keeper could beat, stressing that he is the only player in the team that is featured on regular basis in his club.

He insisted that there were other players that could have performed better than some players that made the World Cup list.

“In every major tournament, we should always aspire to go with our best. There is a way the NFF can work out something to ensure that we get the best for major tournaments,” he said.

 

Nigeria Comes First, Not My Records – Stephen Keshi

keshiCoach Stephen Keshi has insisted that he is not thrilled about his record as the first African to lead an African team to the FIFA World Cup second round, rather he wants the Super Eagles to do well against France for a place in the quarter finals of Brazil 2014.

Keshi, who became the first black African coach to win the African Cup of Nations in 21 years against all odds, helped the Super Eagles to secure a place in the round of 16 for the first time since France 98.

There have been suggestions in some quarters that Keshi’s achievements in winning the Nations’ Cup and taking his team to the knock-out stage of the World Cup have not been given the value it should by the international media.

However, Keshi believes what is important to him is to focus on the game against France and not his personal glory, “For me, my team and country come before any personal glory.

“What is important is to focus on what lies ahead – not Stephen Keshi and his record.

“That we made the second round and are able to achieve this against all odds is all that matters”, the former coach of Mali said.

Nigeria will face France for only the second time at senior level in the ongoing 2014 FIFA World cup on Monday in Brasilia and the Super Eagles aim to equal Africa’s all-time best of getting to the quarterfinals of the World Cup achieved by Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana in 1990, 2002 and 2010.

Keshi said that this was enough motivation and the Super Eagles would give it all it takes to edge France in reaching the last 8 of the football competition.

“We are not bothered about the past but only interested in this present day.

“My boys know what I expect and our opponents will not make life easy for them.

“The Super Eagles have never made it to the quarterfinals, so they can make history of their own.

“There’s no motivation bigger than that”, Keshi added.

The last time Nigeria met France was in an International friendly in Saint Etienne in June 2009 with Super Eagles beating France 1-0, courtesy of a Joseph Akpala goal, but Keshi says it would be a different ball game against the Le Blues on Monday.

I Have No Grudge Against Moses – Keshi

VictorMoses_SuperEagles2-300x244 (1)Coach of the Nigerian Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, has insisted that he doesn’t have any grudge against Victor Moses, claiming that he is being left out of the team for tactical reasons.

Moses started Eagles’ first game against Iran but was an unused substitute against Bosnia and Argentina.

However, Moses failed to show up for the team’s pre-match warm-up against Argentina, prompting speculations that the Chelsea forward might have been displeased by his exclusion.

“I have no grudge against Moses, neither am I aware that he is complaining. My big daughter is older than Moses, so what is the point in nursing grudges against him? If he does anything wrong it is my job to correct him”, Keshi said.

Media reports have claimed that there was a bust up between the coach and the player ahead of the game with Argentina. Reports also claim that Moses refused to sit on the bench, instead preferring to stay in the bleachers after learning he was not going to start against the Albiceleste.

But the player, in recent tweets, has claimed that he was indeed injured.

“The lads were brilliant again yesterday and did the country proud. Gutted to miss it again with a muscle strain but working hard to get back fit and strong for France game”, Moses tweeted moments after the team’s official release had been made public.

Nigeria are expected to travel out of their team base camp in Campinas on Friday afternoon at 2pm local time, which would be 6pm Nigerian time to Brasilia for the game against France on Monday.

 

Is Keshi Brave Enough To Drop Mikel? Obanya Asks

Mikel Obi“The Super Eagles (seem to) choose how to play depending on their opponents and the sight of Di Maria, Higuain and Messi made them raise their game on Wednesday, except for Mikel Obi.”

Sports Journalist, Nnamdi Obanya, said this on Thursday in a conversation with Channels Television’s Chamberlain Usoh on Sunrise Daily.

Providing a post-mortem of Nigeria’s last group game versus Argentina at the World Cup which ended in a 3-2 loss, Obanya said that despite the Eagles’ shaky start in the game they did well by responding quickly to Argentina’s goals.

With Nigeria having qualified for the second round despite the loss, his only fear, however, is if the Super Eagles would be able to repeat the same impressive performance against France because in the Argentina match “there were fortunate moments for us (although) there were unfortunate moments for us (as well).”

He opined that the two goals scored by Ahmed Musa were down to his personal instinct and not necessarily products of the team’ s strategy.

He explained that the team’s coach, Stephen Keshi, usually places Musa on the right but “because of the counter attack and the way it happened, Musa instinctively ran into the left channels which is his (desired) space and credit must go to Emenike and Babatunde for the assists on those goals.”

Speaking further, he said: “Mikel once again did not show up to the party, it’s not enough to play 2 inch passes to the left or to the right or to the player nearest to you.”

Analysing the goals scored by the Argentinians, Obanya said that the Eagles must work on their technical disciple as regards defending set pieces because the lapses could be costly as the second round match against France beckons. However, Obanya cautiously expressed belief that Nigeria could beat the French, “not because Nigeria is so good but because France have their own personal self-destruct buttons.”

Obanya referred to game between France and Ecuador and the inability of the French team to take their chances and take advantage of the Ecuadorians being one man down for a massive period in the game.

He added that Nigeria must not be too happy, however, as the French Coach has said that his team would fight in their next game, obviously upset at the outcome of the last group game in which they played a frustrating scoreless draw.

Making suggestions on how to stop France, Obanya posited that the full backs would have to help in attack but must master the art of tracking back to defend when they lose the ball, as in the Argentina game, both Ambrose Efe and Juwon Oshaniwa got caught out a number of times; again he put the blame on Mikel Obi.

“The reason you have holding midfielders is that when your wing backs go forward, your holding midfielder should drop in-between your two centre-backs, allow them to spread and give your fullbacks time to come back. Now you have a standing 3-man defence at least to cope with whatever is coming.

“If Mikel is going to be so static and sit just in front of the defence, and Onazi has to be the water carrier in the midfield, it means that when there’s an attack, Mikel needs to come back and sit but he’s not marking, he’s not going forward.”

Chamberlain drew attention to the attacking forays of Mikel in the recent games but Obanya believes that “he gets lost just before the final third.”

“As a number 10 or a playmaker, your job is to get in that role and play triangles between the wide man and the striker, so that whoever is the third person in the three behind the striker can act as a second runner into the box or can also hover around.

“(And) If you’re going to sit so deep as a Pirlo, you had better have perfect passes and you have to help out the defence. If you’re not going to sit between the defence when Nigeria is being attacked then it does not pay Nigeria to have you sit in so deep; against France, we can’t afford that.

“I’ve been asking, is Keshi brave enough to drop Mikel?” Obanya said, naming Michael Babatunde as the possible option to come into the number 10 role and let Onazi sit.

Babatunde’s injury in the game against Argentina, however, seemed to have put an end to the role of the midfielder in the 2014 World Cup after being hit by a shot from his teammate, Ogenyi Onazi; an incident Obanya blamed on the non-tactical but more physical nature of the Eagles’ training.

“You’re going to need as much mobility against France; I’m not sure Mikel is that mobile”, Obanya said.

He also suggested the return of Victor Moses to the team as he could be deployed as an attacking midfielder. He noted, “Some players need to be given that liberty to roam.”

Keshi Is Not New Bafana Bafana Coach – SAFA

keshiThe South Africa Football Association (SAFA) has dismissed claims that Super Eagles of Nigeria coach, Stephen Keshi would be named coach of Bafana Bafana after the world cup.

There were reports making the round in Nigeria media that Keshi, who is presently with the African Champions at the World Cup in Brazil, had already signed a two-year contract and would take over as South Africa coach in July.

But according to the spokesperson of SAFA, Dominic Chimhavi, the national team coach will be made known in Mid-July and no coach has signed any contract with the football governing body.

“There is no truth to those reports. SAFA has never released a list of candidates that are on the short-list for the Bafana Bafana job,” association spokesman.

“When the President of SAFA, Mr. Danny Jordan, announced that Gordon Igesund’s contract would not be extended, he made it clear that the new coach would be announced in July, following the conclusion of the World Cup.

“Keshi’s name is part of a list of names being bandied about by the media. The list was created by the media and the reports coming out of Nigeria are total fabrication,” Chimhavi said.

Last week, the social media was abuzzed with the news that present Iran and former Real Madrid manager, Carlos Queiroz, was about to sign a contract with SAFA.

SAFA, however, denied reports that Queiroz was on his way back to South Africa, having already taken charge of Bafana in 2000.

The vacant Bafana post has seen more than its fair share of speculation since erstwhile coach, Gordon Igesund’s contract was not renewed for the qualifying campaign of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, starting in September.

Super Eagles’ Coach Keshi Optimistic Of Defeating Bosnia

Super-Eagles-World-Cup-TrainingThe coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, has expressed optimism that the Nigerian team will defeat Bosnia-Herzegovina in the second group game that will be played on Saturday.

It has been described by football enthusiasts as redemption time for the Super Eagles of Nigeria who failed to secure a win against Iran.

In the Saturday match, the Eagles aim to get off the mark against Bosnia in a crucial Group F game at the Arena Pantanal.

Coach Keshi admitted that the opening game display against Iran was disappointing for Nigerians, and has vowed that his team would be going all out to get the required result against the eastern Europeans.

The former Nigeria skipper also spoke on the performance of African teams so far.

“We had a tie against Iran and then with the bomb blast it was not pleasant at all. It was very tough for Nigerians to swallow. Really, I don’t know what to say but our hearts go out to them and as well, we will try and do everything possible to make sure that we put smile in Nigerians faces  tomorrow.

“If you look around, it is not just Africa. When you look at the champion of the world, first two games they are out. It tells you that there are not little teams in the world when it comes to football. You just have to get yourself prepared others you will be kicked out.

He further promised that the African team would do its best to make the continent proud.

Keshi Will Lead Eagles To The W/Cup- Sports Minister

The Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, today expressed the confidence of the ministry in the ability of Coach Stephen Keshi to lead the Super Eagles to World Cup in Brazil next summer.

The minister made this declaration while speaking to State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting.

The minister, who came to the meeting with the trophy won by the   U-17 team, said following the qualification and the friendly matches, the Nigerian Football Federation will review the options available that will enable Nigeria to perform creditably at next years’ FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.

He noted that those who may want Nigeria to think of getting a technical adviser to assist Keshi may have to wait, adding that so far, Keshi has shown that he can handle  the Super Eagles following his performance in putting the team through the qualifiers.

Keshi Gets Support From NFF Over Players Call-up

Nigeria’s football management body, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has backed former Super Eagles captain and now Super Eagles head coach, Stephen Keshi over team selection despite the loud protest by the team captain Joseph Yobo.

Yobo was very livid to learn that he was left out of the selection that will be facing the Harambee Stars of Kenya for the World cup qualification clash in Calabar last month.

Several other big players of the Super Eagles criticized Keshi’s act but Yobo who was definitely embittered was of the loudest as he openly criticized Keshi for leaving him out of the team after their victorious return from South Africa as the Super Eagles were crowned the African champions.

One official of the NFF said Stephen Keshi will always get the support of the federation as they have already resolved earlier to give him their support and allow him a free hand.

“We appointed Keshi for the Super Eagles job and we have resolved to give him a free hand to pick the players he deems fit to prosecute matches and thus far his selections have produced results,”.

According to an executive member of the NFF; Chris Green, there are several issues which is in the top drawer of the federation which has be addressed and be addressed in good time too, because it is in the interest of the federation to promote peace in the team for without peace the sole purpose of having a coach to steer the team is defeated.

Green made mention of the Yobo vs Keshi, Osaze and Keshi, Emmanuel Emenike, Danny Shittu issues as part of the issues to be addressed in meeting in Abuja.

“We are going to look at the issues objectively. A coach is a coach and is in charge of the team and can decide the players who could best play a game for him.”

“However, when players begin to complain and senior players for that matter, there is need for us to mediate because the team can only achieve more when they are united.

“Our concern is not to fan the ego of anyone, but for peace to reign in the Eagles. We appointed Keshi for this job and we believe in his ability, therefore we must do everything to make sure his job is easy and void of whatever distraction,”

It would be recalled that Joseph Yobo didn’t feature in most of the matches that Nigeria played during the Afcon 2013 in South Africa due to injury.

However, the captain who returned to his club and started playing immediately stated that he is not down with injury as he has been active for his Turkish club since the Nations cup, knocking off the issue of injury being responsible for being excluded from the Super Eagles call-up.

W.C. Qualifiers: Coach Amrouche Promises Nigeria A Tough Return Leg

Kenya’s coach Adel Amrouche has promised to make the return leg fixture of the 2014 FIFA world cup qualifier against the Super Eagles a very tough cracker as his team will make the match difficult for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

This the coach confidently said as he rued his expulsion from the match on Saturday which to him was the reason why the Harambee Stars of Kenya  succumbed to the Super Eagles thereby settling for a 1-1 draw at UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar.

The Harambee Stars stretched the African champion to their fullest on Saturday but were forced by the Super Eagles to conceding a goal in stoppage time thanks to Nnamdi Oduamdi’s brilliant strike.

Meanwhile in reaction to Saturday’s world cup qualifying clash, Nigerian football fans who spoke with Channels Television expressed confidence that the Super Eagles will usurp the Harambee Stars of Kenya in the second leg despite the 1-1 draw they could only record on home soil.

They also backed the Super Eagles of Nigeria on their performance on Saturday saying the team is improving, even though some still feel that the 1-1 draw is an indication that the pressure now lies with the Super Eagles and they are to raise their game and avoid complacency as every team will be gunning to earn victory against them in any game played so as to make a statement for they are the reigning African champions.

 

NFF Sets Up Committee To Resolve Mba’s Ownership Saga

Despite the directive by the Nigeria Premier League on the tussle over the ownership of Afcon 2013 superstar midfielder, Sunday Mba, Nigeria’s football regulatory body, the Nigeria Football Federation, has ordered that a committee be set up to liaise with the Interim Management Committee of the Nigeria Premier League (NPL) on the ownership tussle.

This comes as another club has joined Warri Wolves and Enugu Rangers in laying claims to Sunday Mba. According to AllAfrica.com, Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt have claimed that Sunday Mba is their player.

The Nigeria Premier League (NPL) had ordered that the Super Eagles duo of Sunday Mba and goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim belong to Warri Wolves and the football body wrote a letter to that effect, which was signed by the Executive Secretary of the NPL, Tunji Babalola, and circulated to media houses by the management of Warri Wolves, where it was stated clearly that the players belong to Wolves and not Rangers.

Now, Dolphin FC claim they loaned the player to Warri Wolves while Enugu Rangers management are also insisting that Dolphins improperly loaned Mba to Warri Wolves.

Babalola, on behalf of the NPL in a letter dated February 13, 2013, addressed to Warri Wolves and copied to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) General Secretary and Rangers International FC, it said: “We are in receipt of your correspondence on the above subject. From our records, it is established that Chigozie Agbim and Sunday Mba are bonafide players of Warri Wolves FC.

“Consequently, the ownership of the players is not subject to controversy and any club that requires their services should contact the management of Warri Wolves for negotiation,” the letter stated.

But explaining his own side of the story, Mba claimed that he had been contracted to Enugu Rangers by Warri Wolves, a statement the management of Warri Wolves frowned at.

Super Eagles Lift Nations Cup After 19 Years

The Super Eagles under the tutelage of Coach Stephen Keshi have ended a 19-year Africa Cup of Nations title drought with a 1-0 final victory over Burkina Faso at Soccer City, Johannesburg.

Home based Sunday Mba’s goal gave the Super Eagles a deserved 1-0, 40 minutes into the first half.

It was an opportunist goal by Mba and his second of the tournament, having struck a superb match-winner in the 2-1 quarter-final defeat of pre-tournament title favourites Ivory Coast.

Among the rewards for the Super Eagles is a $1.5 million first prize and a place at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, where they will face world and European champions Spain, Tahiti and Uruguay.

It was a result that took winning coach Stephen Keshi into the record books as he equalled the feat of late Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary by winning gold medals as a player and a coach.

The dominant Super Eagles made the breakthrough just before half-time when Mba clipped the ball over Mohamed Koffi and then volleyed into the far corner.

Burkina Faso almost equalised when Wilfried Sanou forced a fingertip save from goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

Ahmed Musa slipped as he looked set to score and Victor Moses almost poked home as Nigeria eased to victory.

It was a win that was fully deserved as Nigeria comfortably beat a tired-looking Burkina Faso, who struggled to make an impact in their maiden final appearance.

The match was also the first time for 21 years that a black African coach has won the cup – Cote d’Ivoire’s Yeo Martial was the last to do so in 1992.

After Nigeria and Burkina Faso played out a 1-1 draw in their group match early on in the competition, the Super Eagles had grown in stature and went into the game as favourites

Reacting to the victory, the winning coach Stephen Keshi, stated that “winning this is mainly for my nation – when I came on board a year and a half ago my dream ws to make all Nigerians happy, and to construct a great Nigerian team, We are not there yet, it’s still in process.

“You don’t want to know what was going through my head (in the final five minutes)! To represent Africa in Brazil at the Confed Cup is an honour for Nigeria.”