By Onochie Anibeze
The Nigeria Football Federation will no longer insist on a foreign or local technical assistant for Stephen Keshi, the Super Eagles Head Coach.
The federation had nursed the idea of engaging a technical assistant to assist Keshi and his technical crew for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Keshi bluntly rejected the offer and rather asked for the reinstatement of Sylvanus Okpala who was disengaged after the Nations Cup last February on the grounds of poor funding. The federation said that it lacked money to pay all the coaches and large backroom staff of the Eagles then. But they did not eventually whittle down the backroom staff. Only best football playing team in the world according to the ranking released earlier in January.
Okpala was eventually affected for what they later said was insubordination. Keshi did not understand that and pleaded for Okpala.
The federation, in turn, turned down Keshi’s plea to have Okpala back.
There has been outcry against any plan to engage any foreign assistant for the team now and yesterday a member of the technical committee, Victor Ikpeba said the following:
“We felt that Keshi would need help in the World Cup and wanted him to hire a foreign assistant himself. We felt that he needed somebody to help monitor other opponents, somebody to assist in reading and analyzing games etc. But he said he would have none of that and wanted Okpala. We thought that Okpala’s case had been closed but Keshi felt that it was wrong and that his former teammate was useful to the team and wanted him back.
As it is now, he may go to the World Cup with the technical crew as they are constituted now – himself, Daniel Amokachi, Ike Shorunmu and Valere. There will be no foreign or local assistant for him and he should execute his plans the way he deems fit. Nobody is interfering. Nobody is imposing anybody on him. He should do it his own way. That is the position that we have taken and we hope that it should make him happy.”, Ikpeba added.