Nigeria on Thursday sacked Stephen Keshi as national team coach, despite home win against Sudan that kept them in the running to
the African title.
The Nigeria Football Federation said after an emergency meeting that
former coach Shuaibu Amodu would take temporary charge before a foreign
manager is appointed.
The Super Eagles were rock bottom of Group A in qualifying for next
year’s Africa Cup of Nations after winning just one point in three
matches but a 3-1 win against Sudan in Abuja on Wednesday lifted them to
Speculation about 52-year-old Keshi’s future has refused to go away
since the end of the World Cup finals in Brazil in July, where Nigeria
reached the knock-out stages of the competition.
Keshi’s three-year deal ran out after the return from South America
while he lost the support of players after much-publicised rows with the
likes of Emmanuel Emenike, Peter Odemwingie and Ikechukwu Uche.
His record of five defeats, five draws and just one victory in the
last 11 matches has only compounded dissatisfaction and led to calls for
him to quit.
In a statement, the NFF said Keshi and his coaching staff had led
Nigeria to “glorious accomplishments” in the last three years and called
the coach and his assistants “true national heroes”.
“However, in the interest of Nigeria football and the desire to
ensure qualification for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals, the
(executive) committee decided to relieve them of their duties with
immediate effect,” it added.
Unanimous approval was given for a consortium of coaches, led by
Amodu, to lead Nigeria in their remaining qualifying matches against
Congo and South Africa “after which an expatriate coach will be
Amodu’s re-appointment comes four years after he was sacked and
stopped from leading the country to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
This will be his fifth stint with the Eagles having first taken charge of the team in 1994.
The 56-year-old will be assisted by El Kanemi Warriors coach Salisu
Yusuf, who worked under Samson Siasia both with the Flying Eagles and
Super Eagles, and Gbenga Ogunbote of Sharks.
Their immediate task is to secure a win against Congo in Pointe Noire
to stay in the reckoning for a place at the Africa Cup of Nations in
Morocco in January.
Nigeria have four points from as many matches while Congo are second
on seven points. Group leaders South Africa travel to Nigeria for the
final qualifying game next month.
Keshi’s sacking comes despite NFF president Amaju Pinnick saying this
week that the football federation would not rush into a decision over
“We want our people to be patient and not stampede the federation to
take knee-jerk decisions that will backfire in the end,” he said on