By Onochie Anibeze
Ghana were reduced to ten men in the CHAN semifinal match with Nigeria.
The Eagles could not find an answer to their power game and eventually lost to them.
Zimbabwe had a red card in the 17th minute in the 3rd place match and Eagles could not find a way to overwhelm them and just scored three minutes to full time. Same thing happened against Mexico in Houston last year when Eagles could not beat a ten man Mexican team. The first two matches of the last Nations Cup were brought to question and the circumstances that led to the rejuvenation of the team reviewed. On CHAN, a thorough analysis by the football federation did not frown at the inability of the Eagles to overwhelm the opponents with goals but their inability to find a clue and adapt to technical changes against Ghana and Zimbabwe.
And after also analysing the circumstances that they felt contributed immensely to Nigeria’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup, the Nigeria Football Federation Executive members have concluded that Stephen Keshi, the head coach of the Eagles needs some assistance to lead Nigeria well in the World Cup in Brazil.
And the technical committee members, we gathered, were to formally present their findings to Keshi today when the committee meets but they gathered last night that Keshi had travelled to the United States to meet with his family.
“We were not formally informed of his trip because we wanted to meet him on Monday(today) and tell him about our findings for the World Cup,”a top member of the federation said last night.
“We want to do well in the World Cup and we strongly feel that he needs a technical assistant,’’ the member said, adding, “it is about Nigeria and not individual aspirations. We want to break the African record of a quarterfinal berth in the World Cup and from all indications we know that Keshi needs a help. He will still lead the technical crew to Brazil and will remain the head coach. But we just want to attach somebody to him for the sake of improving Nigeria’s lot in the World Cup.”
Another top member of the Federation said that “a new hand could ask questions about certain things that may eventually help the team. Chigozia Agbim, for example, kept only two matches for his club throughout the season and has recently been dropped by his club, Enugu Rangers who registered four goal keepers and found him not good enough to be among their keepers.
That’s the keeper Keshi used in the CHAN competition and he embarrassed the country. That cannot happen in football nations. We don’t fold our arms while somebody leads us astray. If you closely watch our league you will find out that those who played CHAN in South Africa were not our best, some may not even make the second team of the bests in our league. We want to be sure that we make a true representation of the current best of Nigerian football in Brazil and a new hand may not give in to the kind of sentiments that we have noticed in the team now.”
Keshi, we gathered, had told the federation that he did not need a new technical assistant and that Sylvanus Okpala who was disengaged after the Nations Cup victory in South Africa be recalled. Many Nigerians have supported Keshi’s position on Okpala even if another assistant is to be engaged for the best interest of the Eagles in Brazil. The technical committee meeting will go on today in spite of Keshi’s absence which members are already frowning at.