Nigeria's Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi read about Keshi's resignation on the Internet, while the NFF are not responding, until they attempt to make the coach change his mindThe Nigerian football fraternity was dealt a huge blow on Monday evening, when their coach Stephen Keshi announced his resignation from his job as the coach of the national team, just less than 24 hours after he guided the Super Eagles to Afcon glory at the National Stadium.
Keshi claims that before the quarterfinal clash against Ivory Coast, the NFF had already decided they would sack him as soon as the Super Eagles were knocked out. He says the NFF booked a plane ticket back to Nigeria as soon as they found out that they will play the Elephants.
Nigeria's former PRO Peterside Idah, confirmed Keshi's claim on Twitter. He wrote @IdahPeterside, “Keshi only heard the NFF had given the secretary money for return tickets before Ivory Coast game, only after they won the game.”
However, Keshi claimed on Metro FM that he heard about the arrangement made by the NFF after the Mali game, and that he did not want to take it to mind as it would have affected his teams preparations.
Keshi’s resignation letter still has to be discussed by the NFF, and the coach says he is unlikely to change his mind, because he believes that NFF did not trust and respect his tactics as a coach.
Meanwhile, Nigeria's Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi and chairman will lead the team and officials to a Presidential reception, which has been arranged for the team on Tuesday evening. Even Abdullahi is not up to speed with Keshi’s letter of resignation.
“I just read it... (the report minutes ago), and immediately called the Nigeria Football Federation President, Aminu Maigari who (also) claimed ignorance about the matter. Maigari told me that he has not received a letter of resignation from Keshi and the story was a rumour and unfounded," the Minister disclosed.
This of course further embarrasses the Nigerian administration who are not aware of the current situation, even after Keshi had chosen to spill the beans live on radio with one of South Africa's most respected soccer journalists live on Metro FM.
The NFF also responded to other calls from the media, that these were rumours. It is clear that we have a dispute between the NFF and Keshi, and the Nigerian fans are upset at the federation for turning Keshi's head. There's still a chance that Keshi might change his mind, even though he claimed live on Metro FM that he won't. It won't be the first time that a coach at the Afcon changed his mind after initially resigning. Claude le Roy also dramatically did a u-turn with DR Congo just before the tournament began, after claiming poor organisation from his administrators.
If the NFF are unable to convince Keshi to cancel his resignation, then the conflict may be deeper. There are indications that the federation were interviewing three European coaches to take over from Keshi. At the Afcon quarterfinal press conference before facing Ivory Coast, the Nigerian coach hit out at the practice of African nations employing European coaches. Expect a few twists and turns in this case.