Nigerian foot ball coach Stephen Keshi has got the backing of Aminu Maigari, president of Nigeria Football Federation to continue as the coach ending a fierce round of controversy. Maigari said that he was still the right person to lead the team.
Keshi has had a turbulent relationship with his employers, especially, after leading the team to gold at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013.
Maigari said he believed that Keshi should be given some credit for the nation’s revival in football fortune. He blamed the media for exaggerating difference between the NFF and the coach.
Earlier, reports in local media suggested that the NFF was extremely upset with the attitude of the coach and wanted to appoint a foreign assistant to help him.
The Federation had asked Keshi to explain about several incidents, which it was unhappy with. The first incident was that Keshi did not attend the technical committee meeting with the NFF on Tuesday.
He was also asked to answer why he went on leave sans permission and missed a reception hosted by president Good Luck Jonathan in February.
In a letter to Keshi, the NFF drew its attention to his previous actions of travelling out of Nigeria without the permission of the NFF.
Particularly embarrassing incident for the NFF was his travelling out of Nigeria before 13 February, 2014 when a reception was hosted by President Goodluck Jonathan for the Africa cup winning team holders on that day.
Keshi had requested for leave from 15 February to 10 March, but he left before 13 February and returned on 26 March. In fact, the Technical committee meeting on 25 March was called off when Keshi complained of air travel hitches from USA.
The NFF said that as a conscientious organisation, they had no other way than to issue him a query to account for how all these events took place. The letter signed by NFF head Emmanuel Ikpeme gave the former captain of Nigeria 24 hours to respond to the queries.
The coach and the NFF had been enjoying a cordial relationship lately after settling a row about unpaid salary and the appointment of a foreign assistant for the coach.
The relations between the NFF and Keshi had hit a downslide soon after he led the Nigerian team to victory in the Africa Nations Cup. In fact, he had reversed his decision to resign from position of coach following rows with the NFF.
Four months later, Aminu Maigari revealed that Keshi would not be responsible for selecting the squad for the World Cup on his own. In December, the NFF also finally paid the seven months salary they owed him after Keshi called the situation, ‘Unacceptable and disrespectful.’
However, things have turned around for Keshi. All is well again and Maigari said that the NFF’s decision to appoint Keshi as coach was a positive one, as the evidence suggests. There were no big contentious issues between the NFF and Keshi he said in context of the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.
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