Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Stop Stabbing NFF in the Back, Anyansi Tells Keshi

Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation Technical Committee, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu, has hit out at the Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, over the 'disdainful and dishonest' statements credited to him in recent times.

Anyansi, who is also the chairman of two-time African champions, Enyimba Football Club of Aba was leader of delegation of the Nigerian contingent to the pre-Afcon camp in Faro, Portugal and the tournament proper in South Africa.

In an exclusive interview with EnyimbaFC.net, the soft-spoken Anyansi could not hide his displeasure as he criticized Coach Stephen Keshi for, as he put it, "spending too much time ridiculing and damaging the image of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF)" since the triumph of Nigeria at the 2013 AFCON tournament in South Africa.

Anyansi was particularly miffed by statements credited to the coach, alluding thathe was primed for sack by the NFF during the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in South Africa. He said, "I believe enough is enough of his blackmail of the Nigeria Football Federation.

We won the Nations Cup in South Africa and everyone is happy. Why can't Keshi thank God for the success and share the joy of all Nigerians? What is he constantly complaining and criticizing the Federation for? Did he just assemble players and fly them to South Africa and won the Cup? Was the NFF not behind him? Were there no people who played great roles and sacrificed a lot for the success of the team as well?"

Anyansi admitted that as part of their oversight functions, the board held several meetings with the coach in South Africa and questions were raised as to why the team was performing below expectation early in the tournament.

"After our first two draws against Burkina Faso and Zambia, the NFF was put under pressure by a lot of Nigerians who demanded to know why the Super Eagles had performed below expectations. During this time in South Africa, meetings were held by members of the Federation to work out a way to improve the performance of the team. Keshi himself was a part of these meetings."

The Enyimba boss denied that the board ever lost faith in the team and the technical crew during the tournament. "After our victory against Ethiopia, everyone knew we needed a lot much more to overcome Cote d'Ivoire. To show our faith, support and belief in Keshi and his players, we gave $30,000 bonuses to all players and Coach Keshi received $60,000. This bonus should not have been since the team should have earned $5000 for each draw and $10,000 for the win, making it $20,000 for the players and $40,000 for him.

"So, he should be honest to himself and stop his criticisms of a Nigeria Football Federation that provided him a platform to succeed. He should stop stabbing the NFF in the back by putting himself under the spotlight and cast the NFF in bad light. His success is our success, so there's no way we are not going to be supportive of him and give him all the assistance he needs to do well."

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