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View Full Version : Nigeria coach Keshi 'quits' after winning ACN then rescinds decision



Pope Bitterz D'Alomo
12th February 2013, 01:16 PM
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A South African radio station reported on Monday that Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi handed in his resignation after Sunday's victory in the Africa Cup of Nations final.

South Africa's Metro FM said Keshi told the station in an interview that his decision came from his anger over federation officials threatening to fire him just prior to Nigeria's quarterfinal against Ivory Coast.

Keshi could not be immediately reached for comment. Super Eagles spokesperson Ben Alaiya said late on Monday he didn't know if Keshi had resigned.

"I have not been able to talk to him and I have not spoken to the leadership to have information on what is really happening," Alaiya said.

Nigeria's Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi declined to immediately comment. It was not clear whether the football federation would immediately accept Keshi's resignation or would try to negotiate with him behind closed doors to get him to stay. Keshi had said he had not received his salary payments on time from the federation, and had not been given his official accommodations or a staff car promised to him.

Keshi was the Super Eagles' captain when they won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994, their last title before beating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Keshi, a former central defender, was the first black African coach to win the tournament. He earned his chance with Nigeria's national team after spells in charge of Mali and Togo and also as an assistant coach when the Super Eagles last made the final, in 2000.

When he took over the top job after Nigeria's failure to qualify for the 2012 edition, and following a dismal 2010 Soccer World Cup, little was expected of the team.

Speaking to journalists on Sunday night, Keshi hinted at the troubles facing him and other coaches in Africa.

"If only we can understand how these things work, then we can grow better in Africa," the coach said. "Most of the coaches are not given freedom to work, and express themselves. They hold back a little bit."

With its victory on Sunday, 52nd-ranked Nigeria advanced to a first-round group with Spain, Uruguay and Tahiti at June's Confederations Cup in Brazil. Keshi's resignation could have a big impact on a team many had given up on before the coach rallied them to win.

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Keshi rescinds resignation

Stephen Keshi has withdrawn his resignation after he guided the country's team to a third Africa Cup of Nations triumph, he said on Tuesday.

In a statement signed by the coach and made available by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Keshi said he will continue as the Super Eagles' coach after the country's sports minister intervened.

"I have had cause to express my displeasure over some issues that happened in the course of our participation in the AFCON 2013, which my team won by the grace of God, especially concerning my relationship with the Nigerian Football Federation, I have since had opportunity to discuss the various issues with all concerned.

"I am therefore pleased to say that I have reconsidered my position and have decided to continue with my job," according to a statement signed by Keshi.

"I want to thank the Honourable Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, for his swift and kind intervention."

The 51-year-old Keshi, who took over as Nigeria coach in November 2011 and oversaw the team's 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso in Soweto, South Africa, on Sunday, has a four-year contract.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was hosting a special reception for the squad in Abuja on Tuesday.