Barely a week after signing the contract that gave Stephen Keshi a second stint with the national soccer team, the Super Eagles, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has revealed why the soccer body prevaricated for a long time before sealing a new deal with the ex-international. Keshi’s initial contract, it will be recalled, had expired since June 2014 but was not renewed until April 21, 2015.
Speaking on the British Broadcasting Corporation Focus on Africa programme monitored in Lagos, President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, said the federation had considered hiring a first class foreign coach but magnitude of the financial implication put paid to the idea. “We don’t live in the clouds. We wanted a foreign coach; we wanted to go for someone in the class of (Chelsea manager) Jose Mourinho or (Arsenalmanager) Arsene Wenger. But we e don’t have that money presently and we don’t want to be owing our coach,” Pinnick told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Focus on Africa programme in London, where he was attending a workshop on ProZone software.
He, however, said NFF’s re-appointment of Keshi did not happen by accident. “We made no mistake in re-appointing Keshi,” Pinnick said. “In his first term, Keshi did a lot to encourage the boys in the domestic league, and the boy who scored our winning goal at the (2013) Africa Cup of Nations, Sunday Mba, was playing in the domestic scene.” Capacity–enhancing programmes, he said, have been lined up for the Super Eagles coach, who is the only man alive to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as a player and as a Coach, and captained the Nigeria senior team for 11 years. “Our vision is to see the Super Eagles reach the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
We are very positive and we will work hard towards that,” said Pinnick. The Nigeria football chief said the ProZone software, for which he and three other NFF officials attended in London, four NFF, will be of great help to the Nigeria national teams. “In the past, we played matches blindly, we didn’t know enough about our opponents and we didn’t even know enough about our own players – their strengths and weaknesses. “If we had the ProZone match preparation software before now, we probably would have beaten France and reached the quarter-finals of last year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil.”