Keshi releases statement to clear the air, after Nigeria's sports minister convinced him to change his mind and stay with the national team
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has withdrawn his resignation and released the following statement:
"My attention has been drawn to reports in the media that I have resigned my appointment as the Head Coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
“While I have had cause to express my displeasure over some issues that happened in the course of our participation in the Afcon 2013, which my team won by the grace of God, especially concerning my relationship with the Nigerian Football Federation, I have since had opportunity to discuss the various issues with all concerned.
“I am therefore pleased to say that I have reconsidered my position and have decided to continue with my job. I want to thank the Honourable Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, for his swift and kind intervention."
Following Keshi's announcement in a live interview with South African radio Metro FM on Monday afternoon, the coach and captain Joseph Yobo were summoned to an urgent meeting by top Nigerian officials last night.
The news will come as a relief to millions of Nigerian fans who believe that Keshi is the ideal coach to take Nigeria to greater heights.
Keshi guided Nigeria to their first Nations Cup victory in 19 years, and history was written as he became the second footballer to have won the trophy as a player and coach.
Earlier on Monday evening Keshi announced his resignation as coach of the national team, just less than 24 hours after beating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final.
Keshi claimed on Metro FM 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 said 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.”
There were indications that the federation were interviewing three European coaches to take over from Keshi. This explains why at the Afcon quarterfinal press conference, before facing Ivory Coast, the Nigerian coach hit out at the practice of African nations employing European coaches.
Keshi waited until proving the NFF wrong by lifting the Afcon title, before quitting his post. The clear the air talks from Nigeria's minister has convinced Keshi that the nation should come before personal feuds.
This wasn't the first time a coach at the Afcon changed his mind after initially resigning. Claude le Roy also dramatically performed a u-turn with DR Congo just before the tournament began, after claiming poor organisation from his respective administrators.