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Cote d’Ivoire Job Saga: Sack Verdict Awaits Keshi

Oladipo Okubanjo

Head coach of the Nigeria national soccer team, Stephen Keshi, would be summarily dismissed should it be confirmed that he applied for the vacant coaching job of Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire. This much was disclosed yesterday by vice-chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Disciplinary Committee, Iyke Igbokwe, who stopped short of saying similar fate awaits the Super Eagles’ captain, Vincent Enyeama, who is accused of making uncomplimentary remarks about Kaduna State, venue of penultimate weekend’s 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Chad. Keshi had on Tuesday appeared before the NFF disciplinary committee probing his alleged application for the Cote d’Ivoire job, but Enyeama, who failed to show up, claimed he was not notified.

Though Chairman of the disciplinary committee, Chris Green, told journalists after Tuesday hearing that the committee had to suspend its verdict until further investigations are carried out especially in Cote d’Ivoire, his vice, Igbokwe, says Keshi’s action would have amounted to a breach of trust, an insult the Nigeria and hence the agreement between Keshi and the Federation should be mutually terminated.

“If he applied for the Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire) job, then the element of trust is gone,” said Igbokwe. “You can’t apply for an Ivorian job in the middle of a Nations Cup qualifying run. “We will then recommend (to the executive committee) that he be relieved of his job so that he could go and coach Cote d’Ivoire.”

On Enyeama’s issue, the lawyer said that the Super Eagles can move on without the goalkeeper as discipline must be enshrined in the system. “Without Keshi or Enyeama, Nigeria football will move on but we must instill discipline in the football system that is key. “After all, before Vincent there was Ike Shorunmu, Peter Rufai, Best Ogedegbe and there was even Emmanuel Okpala.”

Meanwhile, hints that the NFF might meet a brick wall when they visit Cote d’Ivoire to verify true position of things as regards Keshi emerged yesterday when an official of the Cote d’Ivoire Football Federation (CFF) told a Lagos-based radio station that the process of hiring a coach for the Elephants was confidential.

When asked if Keshi applied or was merely shortlisted for the job, the unnamed official who claimed to work as an interpreter to the CFF, said: “It’s a secret matter we can’t disclose the mode of operation, let’s just assume it suffices to say he’s one of the applicants among 60 coaches.” The best five among the 60 coaches, he added, would be shortlisted by the executive committee of the CFF.

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