Stories by Albert Akota
As the football world eager awaits the meeting between the Nigeria Football Federation NFF Technical Sub-Committee and Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, today in Abuja, the coach has disclaimed reports that he was being arm-twisted to include some players in his squad to Mundial 2014 in Brazil.
Super Eagles Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, quotes Keshi as saying that he has a free hand to select the best players for the World Cup from the NFF, even as he was not averse to taking advice from well-meaning Nigerians on squad composition.
“The NFF is our parent body and should be concerned about team composition for the World Cup, because the body is made up of well-meaning Nigerians, but to be honest to Nigerians nobody in the NFF has come to me to say pick player A or B.
“They respect my job as the Head Coach and I respect them as my employers and there is no clash of interest”, Keshi declared.
The media has been awash with reports credited to ex-NNB and Super Eagles midfielder, Edema Fuludu, that Keshi was under great pressure to include certain players.
“All Nigerians are entitled to suggest whoever they think should be in the team but all of them must also respect the fact that I and my assistants have the final say and we will not fail Nigerians in this onerous duty”, Keshi added.
NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, who said he has also been inundated with such reports, said he as a former footballer and now an administrator of the game will never force any player on any coach, let alone an experienced and tested coach like Keshi.
“The focus as I always say should be on a good outing in Brazil not needless controversy that people generate to make name on behalf of other innocent Nigerians, especially those of us at the NFF.
“We talk with Keshi everyday and he is happy with the support he is getting from us and I have told him that if and when he needs any tool that will make him do well in Brazil, he should not hesitate to tell us and we will provide, so why should people delight in causing controversy.
“I think enough is enough and it’s about time we come together as a nation to focus on the World Cup in Brazil.