This Day (Lagos)

19 December 2012

Nigeria: Keshi - NFF Not Owing Me N30 Million

Super Eagles Head Coach Stephen Keshi has reacted to a newspaper report to the effect that he was being owed the sum of N30million by the Nigeria Football Federation which amounts to six months salary, saying the story is not true.

Big Boss as Keshi is fondly called in his playing days, said he understands the financial position of the federation and does not have any salary dispute with the Aminu Maigari led board of the NFF.

"In fact the board and by extension the Sports Ministry have been very supportive since I became the national coach about a year ago. Our friends in the media must cross check facts and not sensationalise things because we are at a crucial period of preparations for a major tournament.

"Not that I don't need money but the nation takes precedence, money will come at the right time but let's work first and we will get our dues," he said philosophically.

Asked about the final make up of the list of foreign-based players for the SA 2013 Nations Cup, Keshi said the media should be patient till early next week when the list will be made public.

"Only then will we know the number of home-based players that will make the Faro, Portugal camp and also the list of the foreign based players for the camping exercise."

He however said any Nigerian player who is of quality has a chance of making the final cut for the tourney, assuring for the umpteenth time that current form and not names will be the yardstick that will be used to pick players for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Keshi, has said he turned back Lobi Stars Bassey Ezekiel, because he came to camp late, even after his club has released him early for the national assignment.

Ezekiel came to camp only on Tuesday night and was promptly told by Keshi to return to his club as there was no room for late-comers in the run-up to the AFCON 2013. The pleas of the players did not receive favourable responses because officials of his club in Makurdi told the technical crew that he had been released early and should have been in camp.

"We are trying to build a very disciplined squad for the Nations Cup and we are a bit surprised that a home-based player who is making a first appearance will decide to report late when even his mates who have stayed over a year with us still respect arrival dates. We can't condone that and we hope when next he gets an opportunity he will know that time is of essence," Media Officer of the national team, Ben Alaiya, quotes Keshi as saying.

The player has since left the Bolton White Apartment camp of the team for Makurdi.

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