VENTURES AFRICA – The newly elected board of the Nigerian Football Federation have certainly gone to work as they reached what was reportedly a unanimous decision to relieve erstwhile Super Eagles boss, Stephen Keshi of his duties despite defeating Sudan in a crunch AFCON 2015 qualifier.
The new board led by President Amanju Pinnick announced the decision in the early hours of today and also revealed that veteran national team coach Shaibu Amodu will take over in an interim capacity.
A statement from the NFF thanked Keshi for his achievements with the Super Eagles having won the AFCON title in style in 2013- Nigeria’s first since 1994- but revealed that the decision to move ahead without him was taken to “in the interest of Nigerian football” and also as a result of the “desire to ensure qualification for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations”.
Keshi’s recent record with the Super Eagles has been poor as he recorded only two wins in 13 games and also lost key AFCON qualifying series games against Congo and Sudan. Leaving Nigeria’s hopes of qualification hanging by a thread, the NFF feared that the current situation could see Super Eagles fail to qualify for the AFCON for the second time in only five years.
Insiders also suggest that the board took the decision also with the thought of preserving the appeal of the Super Eagles’ brand after various internal conflicts involving Stephen Keshi had started to become publicly embarrassing.
Keshi’s replacement Shaibu Amodu certainly knows his way around the national team having led the team on four different occasions since 1994. However, Amodu’s last stint ended n controversy as he was fired after qualifying the Super Eagles for the 2010 World Cup but was prevented from leading the team to the mundial in South Africa.
Amodu will be assisted by El Kanemi Warriors coach Salisu Yusuf, who also has prior history with the national team having worked under former boss Samson Siasia. Amodu will also be assisted by Gbenga Ogunbote – coach of local league side, Sharks of Port Harcourt.
The NFF board also announced that the national under-23 national team, known as the Flying Eagles, will be led by Samson Siasia who famously led to under-20 side to the final of the under-20 World Cup in Holland in 2005 as well as led the under-23 team to the final of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.