Keshi Follows Westerhof’s Footstep

| February 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

Keshi Follows Westerhof’s Footstep  print

Published on February 13, 2013 by   ·   1 Comment

Super Eagles’ Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi, became the second man to win the Nations Cup as a player and a coach, behind Egypt’s Mahmoud El Gohary after guiding the Eagles to conquer Africa at the weekend in South Africa.

It appears he is now toeing the footsteps of ‘Dutchgerian’ Coach Clemence Westerhof, who succeed as Eagles’ manager because he had direct access to the corridor of powers when he was in Nigeria.

•Super Eagles' coach, Stephen Keshi dishes out instructions to his players during a training session at the just oncluded  South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. PHOTO: AFP.

•Super Eagles’ coach, Stephen Keshi dishes out instructions to his players during a training session at the just oncluded
South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. PHOTO: AFP.

Keshi, barely 24 hours after his Nations Cup’s feat, jolted his employer, Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and many soccer loving Nigerians, when he announced his resignation from his post during a radio programme in South Africa.

He, however, rescinded his decision after a closed door meeting on Monday with the Chairman of National Sports Commission and the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi.

When he was named coach of the Eagles in November 2011, football pundits gave him no chance as they believed that he did not have the wherewithal to deliver the AFCON trophy that has eluded Nigeria for 19 years.

He was able to prove his critics wrong when he rewrote football history on the African continent by defeating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final to lift the diadem.

What could have been the reason for Keshi to throw in the towel after Nigerians thought that he got the support from the NFF in the buildup to the Nations Cup?

The NFF organised at least 11 good friendly matches for Keshi and the team to ensure that he did not fail the country in South Africa.

The reasons for Keshi’s purported resignation are not farfetched because like Westerhof, who during his stay as the coach of the Eagles relied on some players, who played in the local league and Keshi did the same as he went to the AFCON with six players from the Nigeria Premier League, NPL

Having got football lessons from Westerhof, who happened to be his coach then, Keshi called the bluff of some soccer pundits who believes he can’t make headway at the Nations Cup, but at the end of the day he was able to silence his critics.

It is also pertinent to note that two of the local players, Godfrey Oboboana of Sunshine Stars of Akure and Warri Wolves’ Sunday Mba of the six players from the NPL played pivotal roles to ensure that the Eagles win the 29th edition of the AFCON.

Sources close to Keshi informed that the soccer tactician is looking forward to seeking direct access to the corridors of powers as the NFF cannot be trusted with the plans of the officials to relieve him of his duties after his team drew with Ethiopia.

Former Eagles’ goalkeeper turned SuperSport analyst, Peterside Idah, who is also a close confidant of Keshi said that what Keshi wants is a direct access to Aso Rock because the NFF almost sacked him when things almost went wrong for him in South Africa.

Idah said on tweeter that during one of the meetings with the board of the NFF, which was attended by Sports Minster, Abdullahi, plan was hatched to contact coach of Zambia, Herve Rennard to take over from Keshi after the Nations Cup.

“In that meeting the NFF people were there and the Minister of Sports, they decided to sack me and bring the Zambian coach after the game,” a source close to Keshi said..

Idah in another tweet noted that Keshi saw the handwriting on the wall before their quarter-final clash against Cote d’Ivoire because the NFF, President Aminu Maigari, had already written the Eagles off even before the match.

“The NFF President had seen me the same day and told me he believed in me, but was giving the secretary money for our trip back home,” Keshi was reportedly said.

Keshi might have equal Westerhof’s feat by clinching the coveted trophy for Nigeria, what is left for him is to qualify the Eagles for the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

—Adebobola Alawode

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