December 31, 2013

Keshi’s fears for Iheanacho

Kelechi Iheanacho

Head coach of the Nigeria national team coach, Stephen Keshi is unhappy that the best player at the 2013 Fifa Under-17 World Cup, Kelechi Iheanacho will not be part of the Super Eagles side that will compete at the 2014 African Nations Championship (Chan) in South Africa.

Iheanacho was reportedly hurled off to Manchester City earlier this month to undergo trials with the Barclays English Premier League club.

However, nothing came out of the trip to Eastlands and the midfielder has now been left in limbo with Keshi declaring that the 17-year-old is no longer in his immediate plans.

Keshi, who is one of the first Nigerians to play professionally in Europe, believes Iheanacho’s budding career could be hampered by excessive “external influences.”

“External influences have started because he’s a young footballer who needs the right kind of guidance,” Keshi told

The former Nigeria captain who played for Lokeren, Anderlecht and Strasbourg also questioned the rationale behind taking Iheanacho to Manchester,  inferring that the youngster would have struggled to break into the squad.

“Iheanacho is a young kid and I see no reason why anyone would advice him or his father to take him to Manchester City.

“He’s a very good player but he still needs to develop. Playing in the Chan would have been a very good opportunity to grow, mature and learn more about the game. Now he has lost that opportunity,” he said.

The Nigeria trainer also revealed that he refrained from advising the youngster on what decision to take when the opportunity arose for him to travel for talks with the former English champions.

“I couldn’t have done that because it’s not my style or practice.

“As footballers and human beings, I will help the boys to grow but when it comes to their contract situations with clubs, I will never say a word.

“My approach is ‘you go and do your thing. If it’s good for you, thank God; if it’s not, that’s your business’,” he said.