Daily Trust (Abuja)

18 February 2013

Nigeria: NFF Denies Planning to Sack Keshi

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday dismissed reports that it had planned to sack Super Eagles handler Stephen Okechuku Keshi from his post at the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations.

The football house was reacting to insinuations in sections of the media that it planned to sack Super Eagles' Head Coach, Stephen Keshi at the Africa football showpiece held in South Africa.

Chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee, Chief Emeka Inyama said at the weekend that the Federation had not bothered to dignify the insinuations with any response before now as it considered those rumours to be of such low quality undeserving of any attention.

"If an employer sits down with an employee to review performance, with focus on better output that does not amount to threat of sack. In the civilized world, that happens every other day.

"The NFF never planned to sack Keshi as the Head Coach or the entire technical crew in its entirety. The Executive Committee is made up of decent and responsible Nigerians and we have respect for our employees and their contracts."

Inyama lamented the desperation by some persons to discredit the NFF after the team had emerged triumphant in South Africa.

"We do not have anything against people jumping on the train of success after the Super Eagles became champions of Africa. Success has many fathers (and mothers). But it is uncharitable to try and take anything away from the Federation that worked day and night to achieve the success.

"The NFF employed Stephen Keshi in the first place, gave him the motivation and incentives, and arranged friendly matches against Botswana, Zambia, Angola, Liberia, Egypt, Peru, Niger, Venezuela, Catalonia, Cape Verde and some European clubs to give the boys necessary exposure and turf courage. We got the team to Portugal for final training camp before receiving part of the money approved for the competition.

"We paid the coaches the salaries owed them before the tournament, and till end of January. That does not show an employer that wants to dispense with an employee."

Inyama wondered why some persons are suddenly desperate to take some credit away from the NFF for the triumph.

"The truth is that if the team had failed, it would have been the NFF's neck on the chopping block. Now that it has succeeded, people are clawing at just anything to try and discredit the NFF. This is not only unfair, it is unacceptable."

Inyama insisted that the NFF had already put the triumph behind it and is focusing hard on the challenges ahead, including the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil in June.

"We have so much to look forward to and plan for. The match against Kenya is next month and then the other National Teams have continental and global competitions ahead. We have the measure of all these and by God's grace, we'll win several more trophies for Nigeria this year and the next."

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