Nigeria football boss Aminu Maigari has ordered an end to a face-off between the country’s coach Stephen Keshi and his captain Joseph Yobo.
An unhealthy exchange of words between the two principal characters in the Nigeria squad has dominated the media in the past few days, as Yobo has expressed unhappiness with Keshi over his exclusion from last month’s World Cup qualifier against Kenya in Calabar.
“This is a highly untoward development and the NFF and entire Nigeria football family are disturbed. Less than two months ago, we lifted the Africa Cup of Nations in a blaze of glory, and this was made possible by hard-work and team-work in an atmosphere of peace, unity and tranquillity,” said Maigari.
“The recent exchange of words between coach Keshi and captain Yobo is worrisome, at a time that we have so many important matches and a major competition (FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013) ahead of us.
“I have therefore ordered the chairman of the technical committee and his members to immediately intervene and restore sanity.”
The NFF president also cautioned the nation’s vibrant media against over-sensationalism with regards to the Keshi, Yobo issue.
“Journalists remain important stakeholders in the game and we charge them to avoid over-playing such negative tendencies. Such issues attack the fabric of the team and tend to destroy team spirit, which is key to achieving set goals and objectives,” he urged.
Nigeria, champions of Africa, have a hectic schedule that could see them play as many as 10 matches in six weeks between the end of May and mid-July.
The Super Eagles take on CONCACAF champions Mexico (rated 15th in the world) in a prestigious friendly in Texas, USA, on May 31, travel to Kenya and Namibia for 2014 World Cup qualifiers within a fortnight, before they take part at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, where they could play five matches if they progress beyond group stage.
There is also a 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) two-legged fixture against Cote d’Ivoire. Maigari