This Day (Lagos)

13 February 2013

Nigeria: Afcon 2013 Fallout - 'Keshi's Resignation Withdrawal Conditional'

Fresh facts have emerged in the on-going Stephen Keshi resignation saga clearly indicating that money is not the root cause of his action but he is unhappy with the way football is run in the country and unless the Presidency is able to weigh in positively, the AFCON 2013 winner may still walk way.

According to sources close to the Edo-born tactician, Keshi is fed up with the system that is stifling the ability of football to grow in the country and would love things to change.

"He (Keshi) is not fighting for more money he knows he can make more coaching outside the county, no he is tired with the constant fighting and bickering that characterises the way football is run in the country," said the source.

"Imagine but for the grace of God Nigeria would not have won in South Africa considering the obstacle he (Keshi) had to face. You may not know this but when the team left for Faro in Portugal to prepare for the competition they did so without a kobo on them!

"Imagine a national team preparing for a competition in that way. Money for those that were decamped had to be sourced from money changers in Abuja! It was only later that someone from the federation came with money. What would have happened had an emergency cropped up that needed money?"

Besides not being given official accommodation and a car for more than a year by the federation, matters came to a boiling point during AFCON 2013 when Keshi's employers (the NFF) not believing in the ability of the team to get past Cote d'Ivoire had gone ahead to book return flight to Nigeria for the team.

"It is true they (NFF) had booked flight for the team back to Nigeria because they believed that there was no way the Eagles could beat the Elephants. They not only stopped there, they (NFF) had also gone ahead to begin scouting for a foreign coach to take over because they were going to sack Keshi had the Eagles lost.

"But God was on our side and the Eagles beat Cote d'Ivoire and went on to win the competition. If Keshi with all the goodwill the victory has brought is not able to get things changed then who will?" wondered the source.

THISDAY learnt that Keshi had made up his mind to leave after the tournament but was only persuaded not to by three people - President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President David Mark and Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah.

"It was these three and no other person that got him to change his mind," said Emmanuel Ado, Keshi's brother.

"Look as things stand right now, Keshi has only conditionally withdrawn his resignation; should he not be satisfied that genuine attempts will be made to rectify the problems affecting football in the country then he will have no other choice than to walk away.

"He is not fighting for himself but for the good of football in the country. He is fighting so that whichever coach is in charge will have a good and decent structure to operate in. Right now I can tell you that the structure is not conducive," explained Ado, who has been with Keshi when he was in charge of both Togo and Mali.

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