By John Egbokhan
Former boss of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Anthony Kojo-Williams has slammed the current board members of the NFF for not having the guts to do away with Coach Stephen Keshi, who is holding out for a fresh contract to coach the Super Eagles.
Keshi’s contract with the Super Eagles elapsed at the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which saw Nigeria crashing out in the second round stage, after losing 2-0 to France. Despite being told to handle Nigeria’s qualification matches for the 2015 African Nations Cup by the Sports Minister, Dr. Tamuno Danagogo on an interim basis, Keshi bungled the chance to warm his way back into the hearts of angry Nigerian fans, when he failed to qualify for the tournament held in Equatorial Guinea and won by Ivory Coast last month.
Eagles non-qualification for the AFCON was seen by observers as the final nail in the coffin of Keshi but like a cat with nine lives, the former Eagles captain has since remained in the hunt for a return to the plum job. As if bowing to unseen hands, the NFF board offered a contract to Keshi, who was later quoted to have said it was a slave contract.
Reacting to this nine-month circus in search for a coach for the Super Eagles, Kojo, while speaking on telephone with Sports Vanguard, berated Keshi for his die-hard move to coach the Super Eagles.
Wondering why Keshi is yet to land a coaching deal with any of the countries that the former Mali and Togo coach said were begging for his signature, Kojo bluntly told the former Strasbourg of France centre half that he should go and coach anther country if truly he is a world-class manager as he claims.
“Was it not the same Keshi who said he was being sought by countries to come handle their national teams? So how come, he has not been able to secure any contract with any of these countries? It is rather curious that a world-class coach has been out of a job for nine months. I feel that Keshi is highly over-rated and that is why he is nowhere closer to getting any coach job from outside or at home.
“If Keshi is a man of his words, he should simply walk away and stop crying that he was offered a slave contract. If he is not comfortable with the contract, he should walk away. That is the path that honourable men toe. Not this unnecessary circus that is getting us nowhere. I am simply tired of Keshi and his endless whining”, added a living Kojo.
Turning to the NFF, Kojo, perceived by many as a man of integrity, slammed the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF bboard of lacking the courage to stand its ground on purely technical matters, warning that he feared for the future of our football under the watch of this board.
Telling Pinnick and his journeymen on the NFF board to learn from the strides being made by fellow west African teams who shone like a million stars at the last AFCON, Kojo said that the Pinnick’s board was undermining the growth of Nigerian football.
“Countries like Ghana, Ivory Coast, who were also at the World Cup in Brazil with Nigeria have since moved on after the tournament ended last July. The Ivorians got Herve Renard, who guided them to AFCON glory last month in Equatorial Guinea while Ghana got Avram Grant to take them to the same tournament and they got to the final
“But here in Nigeria, they are saying that the President wants Keshi to stay and their hands are tied. Those guys don’t know their onions. If I’m in charge of something, I run the rules. Keshi should go and get a job elsewhere. If the NFF guys feel their independence is being infringed upon, they should resign like honourable men.