Not a few stakeholders in Nigeria football and fans alike have expressed surprise at the sack of head coach of the national soccer team, Stephen Keshi. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had in a statement made public late Saturday announced the termination of Keshi’s appointment.
The NFF in the statement said: “Having thoroughly reviewed the reports/ findings of the NFF Disciplinary Committee and NFF Technical and Development Committee, as well as having reviewed the actions and inactions of Mr. Stephen Keshi, in the performance of his duties as Super Eagles’ Head Coach, which we found to lack the required commitment to achieve the Federation’s objectives as set out in the Coach’s employment contract.
“To this end and pursuant to the provisions of Clause 4.3 of the Employment Contract between Mr. Stephen Keshi and the NFF (The Contract) and the various clauses therein, the Nigeria Football Federation has decided to exercise its option to summarily terminate the employment contract of Mr. Stephen Keshi with the Federation with immediate effect.”
The statement added that the termination was “without prejudice to the settlement of any existing and due financial obligations between the NFF and Mr. Keshi.” The NFF 1st vice-president, Seyi Akinwunmi, speaking on behalf of the federation’s Executive Committee, said: “In the interim, the Super Eagles’ team affairs will be jointly managed by Assistant Coach, Salisu Yusuf and the Technical Directorate of the NFF headed by Coach Shuaibu Amodu, until the Federation names in due course a new Head Coach.” Reacting to the development, a former coach of the Super Eagles Christian Chukwu and General Manager of the Kwara State Football School of Excellence Mutiu Adepoju, who spoke to The UNION in different interviews, described the development as a huge surprise.
Chukwu, who revealed he had followed the “drama” between the NFF and Keshi with keen interest, said “it was long expected but not at this time”. “It was a surprise but no totally surprising because many people thought he would be sacked when he failed to qualify the Super Eagles for the last Nations Cup. They did not sack him and instead they gave him a new contract. “Even with the Cote d’Ivoire job controversy I didn’t think he would be sacked, I thought the matter would be resolved amicably.
“But since it has happened, we have to move forward because the NFF are his employers and they have the power to terminate any coach’s appointment. Football is about hiring and firing,” said Chukwu, captain of Nigeria’s 1980 Nations Cup winning team. Speaking in similar vein, Adepoju said: “I was shocked when I heard the news, I wasn’t expecting it for now because I felt the whole argument over applying for job or not would fizzle out with time