Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Has Keshi Resigned?

Photo: Vanguard
Stephen Keshi

The news that Super Eagles chief coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi yesterday resigned from his post just a day after leading his team to victory in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa has come as a rude shock to many football fans across the country.

The startling news filtered in early yesterday morning that owing to lack of confidence in him by the Nigeria Football Federation at the start of the tournament, the coach who is still basking in the euphoria of his team's success decided to resign his appointment.

What started like a rumour in the morning continued up to yesterday evening when the social-media became awash with the resignation story.

Concerted efforts by Daily Trust to confirm the story from either the coach or the football authorities who were still in South Africa and are being expected back today proved abortive as several e-mails and phone calls to those concerned went unanswered.

It was however gathered that Keshi's grouse with his employers is what he considered their lack of confidence and respect for his technical abilities.

Daily Trust gathered from reliable sources in South Africa that what angered the coach most was the discovery that his sack letter had been prepared by the NFF with only two matches into the tournament.

In a related development, even as the tournament was ongoing, reports had it that several countries had approached Keshi with the aim of getting him to manage their national teams at the end of the championship in South Africa.

Thus, there were serious speculations that Keshi would leave the Super Eagles at the end of the tournament in protest. However, things came to a head yesterday when it was widely reported that the coach has finally resigned from his post.

Goal.com reported that the coach granted an interview to a South African radio station where he made known his position as far as his future with the Eagles is concerned.

"I did what I feel is right by resigning," Keshi told Metro FM. "I gave the NFF a letter last night [Sunday] after the celebrations."

The 51-year-old Keshi made 51 appearances for the Super Eagles as a player, and he has held coaching posts with the Togolese and Malian national teams.

With Keshi stepping down, someone else will be charged with leading Nigeria at this summer's FIFA Confederations Cup, a tournament for which Nigeria qualified by virtue of winning the Cup of Nations.

Keshi was employed in November 2011 to replace coach Samson Siasia who was sacked by the Nigerian Football federation when he could not qualify the country for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon/Equatorial Guinea.

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