By Tony Ubani
Ex-international, Chike Arisa called from his base in Holland to make enquiries on Nigerian football. He was overjoyed that Chris Giwa had agreed to sheath his sword for the good of the game but he could not come to terms with the news that Stephen Keshi agreed to come back after being shown the exit door by the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF.
“It’s scandalous. It’s a shame that he even agreed to come back”, Arisa , one of the beautiful brides of Nigerian football in the 80s said.
Arisa who played for Nigeria’s big Clubs – ACB, Iwuanyanwu Nationale and Bendel Insurance and tickled souls with his mastery of scoring goals in the Green Eagles under the tutelage of coaches Adegboye Onigbinde and Paul Hamilton advised Keshi to quit when the ovation was loudest.
“Keshi remains a hero in Nigerian football. But he should know when to remain a hero before he falls to zero. With our performances at the World Cup and the catalogue of poor results thereafter especially in the AFCON gualifiers, I think Keshi should have read the handwriting on the wall. Nigerians will lynch him if he fails”.
Arisa who embraced the headlines as one the highest goal scorers of his time predicted that Keshi’s second coming could spell disaster for Nigerian football.
“In all honesty, I don’t see Nigeria doing well under him. He desperately needs help to impart something in the players. His technical bench is empty. What value can Amokachi add to him. Nothing. I see that Ike Uche one of the best forwards of Nigeria he left out for reasons only he knows has been recalled. That is where the problem starts. Ike Uche might not sparkle under him. The Keshi I know hardly forgives. He will not want people to laugh last if Ike comes back to do well. He has lost that commanding role and the players are not comfortable with him, again”, Arisa said on our hotline.
Arisa wants a foreigner who is not biased and with interest on youths from our clubs to step in to salvage our football. “Imagine inviting players from China? Our local players are better than them. If we want to stop incessant frictions over bonus and all, we need a foreigner. Indigenous coaches are sentimental with their selections”.
Arisa also advised President Jonathan to pay attention to the myriads of problems in the country and allow those elected to run football in the country to run the game.
“How will Keshi relate with Pinnick since he knew that his help comes from the Presidency? The President has sown a seed of discord in our football without knowing it”.
Before he dropped, Arisa asked; “what happened to the many offers I read that were on the table for Keshi?