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NFF shops for Keshi’s replacement

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There are very strong indications that Stephen Keshi will not continue as the Super Eagles coach, on interim or permanent basis, after the match against Sudan in Abuja on Wednesday. The PUNCH learnt that three factors have contributed largely to his continued stay as the Nigeria coach despite the humiliating 1-0 loss to Sudan on Saturday.

Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi
Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi
Credit: Punch

The decision by the president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, to hold far reaching discussions with his members; the need to also brief higher authorities and the search for a quality replacement have combined to keep Keshi on the driving seat going into the reverse match against Sudan billed for Wednesday. Our correspondent learnt on Monday that Keshi could be asked to step aside after the Wednesday match.

A member of the NFF board who spoke with The PUNCH on Monday said that a meeting of the Federation had been fixed for 8pm on Tuesday and that the meeting billed for Abuja will take the decision on the way forward with the national team.

He said, “You know that the decision to ask Keshi to go or continue is a major one that can’t be taken by just a few persons. The board is meeting on Tuesday and I know that all the questions will be answered by that meeting.”

Another person with deep knowledge of the happenings at the Federation told our reporter that the search for a good manager is also slowing down decision.

“The search is on for a replacement. What has been the challenge is the closeness of the matches to each other but I guess that will be taken care of very soon with a bold manager to take the challenge.”

A former Sunshine Stars goalkeeper coach, Segun Oguns told SuperSport Keshi should be dropped instantly.

Oguns said another coach other than Keshi could comfortably qualify Nigeria for the biennial event in Morocco by going ahead to win Sudan on Wednesday as well as the other two games against South Africa and Congo.

“I think it’ll be a dashed hope for Maroc 2015 AFCON if Stephen Keshi would still take charge of the game against Sudan on Wednesday as well as the other two games involving South Africa and Congo.

“I strongly believe with a new coach on the saddle we can win Sudan but not with Keshi still in charge.

“With Keshi still taking charge then we must prepare our minds for another uneventful game against Sudan as his penchant for going around picking new players has failed to lift the team.

“Eagles under Keshi made the likes of Congo and Sudan become superstars, countries that ordinarily couldn’t withstand the onslaught of our domestic teams.”

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