Stephen Keshi could be set for a surprise return as coach of African champions Nigeria after the apparent intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan. The “Big Boss” as Keshi is fondly called guided the Super Eagles to Africa Cup of Nations glory in 2013 and the knock-out stage of this year’s World Cup finals was sacked on October 16 after unimpressive performances. Senior officials of the NFF however revealed that the Presidents had ordered Keshi be reinstated and given a contract.
The return of Coach Stephen Keshi as the national team coach was largely influenced by his supposed successor Coach Amodu Shuaibu a media statement from the Nigeria Football Federation suggests. Amodu had in a letter dated 27th October, 2014 and addressed to NFF President Amaju Pinnick through the Chairman of NFF Technical Committee said he wanted Keshi reconsidered for the two matches as the time-frame is too short to tinker with the fabric of the squad or start to build a new one altogether.
“Following wide consultations that I have carefully made within the past two weeks since the appointment, and for the sake of professionalism, I want to specially appeal to you to reconsider the matter and allow Stephen Keshi to finish the project that he has started – the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying race.
“Sir, my opinion also is that the time-frame is too short to start tinkering with the fabric of the team or attempt to build a new team altogether.
“As Technical Director of the NFF, I am ready and willing to help build a better relationship among Keshi (with whom I have enjoyed good working relationship in the past and who is still very close to me), the players and the NFF Technical Committee.
“I am assuring you, Mr. President that I will offer whatever assistance required by Keshi and his crew for the remaining two matches, and also be there to offer advice, suggestions and efforts towards building a stronger Super Eagles’ team after the qualifying race.”
The Super Eagles play Congo Brazzaville in Pointe Noire on November 15 before taking on South Africa in Uyo four days later, needing to not only win both matches but defeat Congo by a margin of two goals away, to stand any chance of qualifying for the 2015 finals.