Nigeria's coach Stephen Keshi has resigned from his job after leading the Super Eagles to their first Africa Nations Cup triumph in 19 years, but says he is waiting for the Federation's response.
Speaking to a popular South African radio show yesterday evening, Keshi explained that he handed in his resignation letter after the cup final on Sunday night.
"I gave them (NFF) my letter of resignation immediately after last night's game, but I haven't heard from them yet," Keshi told a South African radio station, Metro FM last night.
The statement sent shock waves across social media platforms, with many fans on twitter saying how surprised they were to hear this.
According to LEADERSHIP sources, Keshi grouse was with the the sports ministry and football federation who had reportedly asked Keshi to start packing his bags ahead of the quarter final clash with Cote d'Ivoire. Expecting him to lose, the football administrators, it was said, had already bought return flight tickets for the whole team.
Sources also told LEADERSHIP that Keshi had got wind of moves by the sports minister to recruit a foreign coach and was in talks with potential candidates while the tournament was still on. To add insult to injury, the NFF did not pay Keshi his bonuses and not one of the promises that were made to him was kept.
When LEADERSHIP Sports contacted the media officer of the Super Eagles Mr. Ben Alaiya, he said he was not aware of Keshi's resignation. Efforts to confirm the story from the NFF were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, former Super Eagles captain Nwankwo Kanu has said that Coach Stephen Keshi should be left alone to fully rebuild his team ahead of future international tournaments.
Kanu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Johannesburg yesterday that Keshi had laid a solid foundation with the crop of young players that won the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations tournament. He said the coach had been in football for a long time as a player and now coach and had vast experience on how to manage a team. The big boss, of course he is a big boss. He makes his decision and one thing you have to know, he has been there. He captained the Nigerian team to win it, so I do not believe that anybody can still tell him what to do. 'Everybody have (has) to leave him alone. Whatever he did today, no ordinary coach especially, a local coach can do that.
"He made his team, he stand on them, he played his pattern, he stands on them, he talked to the boys as a father, he takes them to this highest level and they win the cup. What else do you expect of him. Kanu said the present Super Eagles were potential that could go places. The former two-time African footballer of the (1996 and 1999) said he had been talking to the players to take advantage of their talents to do the nation proud. He said the Eagles had proved critics wrong by winning the nations cup, saying that his presence in the team was to give them confidence.
Meanwhile, FCT minister Bala Mohammed will today receive the Super Eagles at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Eagles are returning home in a chartered flight after their victory over Burkina Faso's Stallions by 1-0 at the just-concluded African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
A statement by the chief press secretary to the minister, Muhammad Sule, indicates that the minister will receive the Eagles at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, at 1pm, after which they will make a stopover at the Abuja National Stadium for a mini reception. The statement says the team will later depart for the presidential villa where they will be hosted to a grand reception by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The minister calls on all residents of the territory and all Nigerians "to come out en masse to receive, welcome and celebrate this historic victory as Nigeria records yet another milestone on its transformative journey to unsurpassed greatness and glory".
Also speaking on the reception for the Eagles, the director of press, National Sports Commission (NSC), Tony Ohaeri, said the players and officials of the team as well as the staff and board members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) who accompanied the team to South Africa will be received at the airport by staff and top management of the National Sports Commission (NSC) and other sport-loving Nigerians who are expected to turn out in their thousands to welcome their heroes back.
He said, "The team is expected back by 2pm on Tuesday and it will be carnival-like at the airport where the team will be received by the officials of the National Sports Commission and sport-loving Nigerians who will come out in their thousands to celebrate and welcome back their heroes.
"The honourable of minister of FCT, Senator Bala Muhammed, will receive the team at the National Stadium where he will treat them to a special reception for doing the nation proud at the continental soccer showpiece.
"After the minister's reception for them at the stadium, the team will be led to their hotel where they will rest and fresh up for the ultimate grand special reception and dinner with President Goodluck Jonathan at the presidential villa."