After weeks of waiting, Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, and the Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), are expected to reach a common ground and name Nigeria's provisional squad to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil this afternoon in Abuja.
Despite denials from both sides, (the coach and the technical committee members), watches of the Nigerian football scene need no soothsayers to know that disagreement led to the delay in naming the initial squad of 38 players two weeks ago. THISDAY checks revealed last night that all appears good now after the intervention of some stakeholders to save Nigeria's image that is threatened by a reckless Singaporean who chose this auspicious time of preparing for the World Cup in Brazil to allege the country's involvement in a match-fixing scam four years ago. But Keshi through the Spokesman of the Eagles, Ben Alaiya, restated last night that he remains his own man that nobody can arm-twist to include the players he did not want in his team.
Alaiya, quoted Keshi to have said that he has a free hand to select the best players for the World Cup from the NFF, even as he was not averse to taking advice from well-meaning Nigerians on squad composition. "The NFF is our parent body and should be concerned about team composition for the World Cup, because the body is made up of well-meaning Nigerians, but to be honest to Nigerians nobody in the NFF has come to me to say pick player A or B. They respect my job as the Head Coach and I respect them as my employers and there is no clash of interest," insisted the former Togo and Mali gaffer fondly called the Big Boss in his days as Nigerian captain. The media has been awash with reports credited to the ex-NNB and Eagles midfielder, Edema Fuludu, that Keshi was under great pressure to include certain players in the party to Brazil.
"All Nigerians are entitled to suggest whoever they think should be in the team but all of them must also respect the fact that I and my assistants have the final say and we will not fail Nigerians in this onerous duty," Keshi added. NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, who said he has also been inundated with such reports, said he as a former footballer and now an administrator of the game will never force any player on any coach, let alone an experienced and tested coach like Keshi.
"The focus as I always say should be on a good outing in Brazil not needless controversy that people generate to make name on behalf of other innocent Nigerians, especially those of us at the NFF. "We talk with Keshi everyday and he is happy with the support he is getting from us and I have told him that if and when he needs any tool that will make him do well in Brazil, he should not hesitate to tell us and we will provide, so why should people delight in causing controversy. I think enough is enough and it's about time we come together as a nation to focus on the World Cup in Brazil," concludes the NFF chief.