NFF Faction Retains Keshi as Super Eagles Coach, Directs Him to Produce Players List
The factional executive committee of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), headed by Ambassador Chris Giwa, has restated that Stephen Keshi remains caretaker head coach of the Super Eagles and directed him to submit a list of players and programme for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Congo Republic and South Africa.
In contrast with a stand taken by the NFF body led by Melvin Amaju Pinnick, Giwa’s faction insist that Keshi will take the Eagles to their remaining AFCON qualifying matches and announced that erstwhile sacked assistant, Sylvanus Okpala is back to his post.
In a statement by a member of the executive committee, Yahaya Adama, Giwa’s NFF reiterated that the Eagles’ technical crew as well as the medical and media personnel remains at their posts until the qualifiers end.
Adama directed Keshi to submit his programme for the remaining two games before the end of this week and urged The Big Boss to do everything possible to ensure that the team qualifies for the 2015 AFCON.
He also confirmed the return of Okpala, who was sacked by former NFF president, Alhaji Aminu Maigari immediately after the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, which the Eagles won.
“The remaining Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers are very crucial and must not be handled with kid gloves. We need continuity and absolute concentration to ensure qualification for the tournament next year therefore there’s no need stirring the hornet’s nest at this point.
“We can’t afford to change guards at this critical period because the time is very short for another coach to take the team for it’s remaining games.
“We spoke with Stephen Keshi and he said he will like to have Okpala back on the bench. We will not hesitate to give Keshi all the Support he needs to qualify this team for the Africa Cup of Nations, hence we decided to recall Okpala.
“As part of the efforts towards moving forward, Keshi has resolved to use his goodwill. President Goodluck Jonathan gave him a blank cheque upon his return from South Africa. Keshi intends to cash that cheque now by appealing to the president,” Adama stated.
On his part, Okpala, who is still awaiting the verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport after his contract with the NFF was unceremoniously severed without being paid his outstanding benefits, said he is happy with the new development.
Keshi’s stand on this twist is still unclear.
“I have known Keshi since our days in the U-20 national team to the Green Eagles’ days and now Super Eagles and we have always had a cordial and very good working relationship. I respect him as my boss and I believe we can qualify the Super Eagles for the nation’s cup again” Okpala said.
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