Keshi: I was tired of all the plotting and backbiting

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi talks about 'resignation'

Posted: 2 July 2014 Time: 07:14 am

Stephen Keshi gave an exclusive interview with thecable.ng over his leaving the Super Eagles coaching post. 

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The interview, at the Brasilia Palace Hotel, was a day after the loss to France.


Here is part of that interview with TheCable:


TheCable: Knowing what you know now, what would you have done as regards the preparations of the team before this World Cup?
Stephen Keshi: I would have loved to have had them in camp a lot earlier. The European season made a little bit difficult as I did not want to have only one half of the squad in camp before the others joined.

We had less than two weeks to perfect our plans and it showed as it was only when we got to the tournament that we started picking up our rhythm. We had only three friendly matches which are really not enough to get ready for a tournament like this. So, those are what I would have liked to change.


Have you really quit your post?
Yes. I have done my bit. I am tired of all the intrigues and backbiting and insinuations I get. The criticisms are nothing really because even siblings criticise each other. In this job sometimes it goes overboard and my family and those of my players get called names.

I have had to tell the players many times to ignore those criticisms and just focus on the tasks at hand.


There are many Nigerians who support you. Many who would like to see you continue the work you started with the team. Can you not change your mind for them?
The same ones who were calling for my head after the Iran match? That “the World Cup is too big for Keshi”? I know there are many who truly support what we have been trying to do over these past months but I just cannot continue in this job anymore.

To start with, my contract ended with the last match and the Federation never approached me for a renewal. What does that say? It says to me I’m not wanted. I am going to go and rest, spend some time with my family and then hopefully get another job where I am wanted.


After the Afcon win, President Goodluck Jonathan intervened and sorted things out. What if he does this time?
As much as I respect and appreciate the number one citizen of the country I am afraid that this time it is going to be difficult. I am totally done with some of these people.


If you were the Sports Minister of Nigeria what is it you will do or try and put in place to make the job of the national team coach a lot easier?
Make the Federation pay his salaries on time and those of his assistants. Build a training centre and facility for the national team to train. We never had anywhere decent to train. The Abuja National Stadium is filled with sand and the worst kind of sand. That means when someone goes to ground he will have skin wounds.

I and my assistants spend our own money to buy training cones and some of the things we use for training sessions. In most countries of the world when a coach is hired he brings in his own coaching team. Well for two years now I have been told to pay the salary of my assistant Valery Houandinou, someone who has been with me from Togo through to Mali – where those countries paid his salary alongside paying mine.

In two and half years, I had no official residence. I stayed in a hotel. I had no official car. I thank God for Chief Mike Adenuga for those two cars he gave to me after the Afcon win. However, these federation officials will continue to trumpet that “they gave Keshi everything to succeed”.

Mali is one of the poorest countries in Africa but I was given my place of residence and an official car within three days of me taking on the job. I also had a house in Togo and was never owed salaries.


What will happen to the young players you have built up into internationals as it means that Nigeria is losing out on the continuity that you staying on would have brought on?
Well, there is a nucleus of a team to work with there so a new coach will have the players there. In my mind I could set out two equally strong squads with the players available to me.

However, the new coach might come in and say that these players would not fit into his style and so it will be. Not going to be my problem again (smiles).


Clearly your experience with Togo and Mali has helped you at this job?
Oh, without a shadow of doubt. God took me to those countries to give me the experience of dealing with people. It is far more difficult to work in your own country I have just found out. When I qualified Togo for the Afcon and the World Cup I got their national honour and diplomatic passport.

Such was their gratitude. They make you comfortable and of course results followed. God was awesome in taking me through that route.


Did you take a risk with the squad you took to the tournament?
I did not take a risk. From the training camp and from the friendly matches I chose the players I believed would give me what I wanted on the field. People say I took players to sell them and I laugh.

Michael Babatunde has not even started playing. Ramon Azeez will be a top player and he has a big heart. It is unfortunate for Reuben Gabriel that he has suffered a lot with injuries because he has every attribute to be a super player. Many Nigerians who are sincere know his qualities. I trust that he will come through.


But would you be his or their coaches then?
No. My job with Nigeria is done. I just hope who comes in will give them the opportunity to showcase their talents. When I took over there was no standing team and I had to build from scratch really but am gone.

I have loved serving my country but I believe I am done.

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Your comments on this story...

Super Green
posted: 07:44am 02/07/2014
If I was Keshi I would have resigned long ago. How do you expect someone to succeed when you give them almost nothing? Disgraceful.
Ademinister
posted: 07:49am 02/07/2014
Thanks big boss. To nff u hv ur chance nw bring ur chop I chop coach. We back to supper chicken Era let go directly.
NaijaBros
posted: 07:51am 02/07/2014
The Big Boss has spoken. I salute on the fantastic job you did with the Super Eagles. I wish you will find a job where you will be appreciated. Best coach of Africa hands down.
Essexgod
posted: 07:56am 02/07/2014
SOK609 : Nigeria's National Treasure!
Now, he's moved on. I patiently await the next gaffer, these NFF administrators, intend to hire. They have no clue as to what planning ahead entails.

I have not been able to fault any of your contributions through your tenure.
SOK609, you have served the nation extremely well.

I herein, wish you and yours, the very best in your future endeavours!

Thank you.
Am out......
N'discolaz
posted: 07:59am 02/07/2014
I just feel like crying reading this... well... Keshi, thats how it goes with a country with large population and low mentality...
ara nkita
posted: 08:00am 02/07/2014
The truth about the NFF will soon surface. It is a great shame if this interview were to be trusted. Never judge a book by the cover.
wamaselo
posted: 08:00am 02/07/2014
You will be missed for sure the coming white DUDE will not be living in Nigeria
excellenteugo
posted: 08:03am 02/07/2014
Well, Keshi you've tried your best. Kudos to you and your men. Apart from your welfare that was not taken very seriously - the salary, accommodation, and car, every other thing mentioned - the criticisms, abuses, backbitings, etc, shouldn't have been incubi because of personality differences. Not everybody will like you, not everybody will support you, not everybody will praise/appreciate your contributions. I can only wish you more ACCOMPLISHMENTS! You are a great man.
azarro
posted: 08:06am 02/07/2014
It's a real shame. Nigeria, a country with the potential to be an economic superpower, has sunk at that level, not having a decent facility for the national team to train, not able to pay the coaches on time! I'm sure the white coaches of yore used to get their checks delivered on a golden platter and on time. Where is the business sector? They're thriving in Nigeria, why don't they do their duty as citizens, why don't they operate as they do in the US and sponsor the national team to the tune of millions? The government wants results, don't they know that the only you can get there is with money and organization? When will they (the government and the private sector) stop embarrassing us? Africa is the laughing stock of the world and high profile country like Nigeria is making things worst by displaying dysfunctionality at all levels. Too bad that a man like Keshi felt that he can't even work in his country, this is a man well regarded throughout the world of football, ESPN analysts salute his know how, yet some ignorant bozos decide to use insult instead of praise, shame on them. Then again I'm not surprised, we Black people are our own worst enemies.
yzman
posted: 08:15am 02/07/2014
Keshi is an attention seeker, play 7 match 3 friendly and 4 match at world cup 1 win, 3 loss and 3 draw thats is failure...

Keshi just want to cover his shame with this rubbish interview...
Edu Nsukka
posted: 08:17am 02/07/2014
I smell doom for Nigeria football if Keshi leaves. All ye internet coaches, he's is gone now make una dey go submit una CV. Am waiting to see the Mourinho you people have been shouting for. I hope hope we don't regret this decision for ever
Spoton
posted: 08:19am 02/07/2014
He equalled Clemens Westerhof's record of winning the Nattions cup and getting to the second round of the world cup.
Could he have done better by getting to the Q/finals? I believe he could have if he had not allowed personal differences to cloud his sense of reasoning during the selection process.
What Nigeria needs going forward is an neutral outsider and world class coach like Frank Rikyard possibly assisted by a local who knows the terrain. A coach like Rikyard will not attach sentiments to his selection and will not pick under achievers like Mikel, Gabriel etc
Kingcharis
posted: 08:19am 02/07/2014
I agree, Keshi you are a GREAT Man. You have served an ungrateful country like Nigeria with all of your heart yet unappreciated. It's evident you are not with all the inavailable of esential necessities that could help make your work easier. Pls come to SA, we the Nigeria community here will love to have you here and you will make the continent proud from outside the shores of Nigeria. I bet bet you budgets were made to provide you with all those necessities except that some few individuals will have pocketed them. I strongly support your going and wish you the best in your future endeavours. The Lord keep and watch over you and your family. May His eyes of Favour ever shine upon you. God bless you SOK. I salute you my brother and all your team. Dont be pertubed by the ditractors, they are normal for you progress, they have become ladders with which you climb higher to a greater heights. I love you and God bless you.
Africa 1
posted: 08:28am 02/07/2014
Bye bye and God bless you...................a Coach without a tactical approach to matches and no ability to influence and read matches from the touchline.....................
zaboye
posted: 08:31am 02/07/2014
This guy is a drama queen. Keshi's antecedents will always be there for all to see. This is the same man that has spent his whole life \"cropping the system\" both as a player and as a coach wherever he has been. He mentions Togo gave him a national award and a diplomatic passport. Lol. Yes, but they also fired his arrogant arse TWICE (for good measure)..... why? Same old reason..... pride, chicanery, difficult to work with and a general lack of regard for authority (something that has been with the EGO HEAD since he was a player).
Keshi is fooling nobody here and no one is going to beg him to come back. He and his backroom staff (including Amokachi the \"luxury watch hawker\") should be shown the door and the team handed to someone who can actually stand the heat and the pressure of being the head coach of one of the best brands in global soccer.
Nigeria is bigger than this egomaniac. Sure the NFF is not perfect and administration as a whole in Nigeria still leaves a whole lot to be desired. But Keshi is the last person that should complain. He never quite got the best out of the talent at his disposal, even though we won the AFCON (most people forget we had to beat Ethiopia to get out of our group and only just did that thanks to two late penalties and a sending off for the Ethiopian goalkeeper).
We have tremendous talent coming through and Keshi, Amokachi et al are the last people that should be entrusted with such talent. Keshi and Amokachi are crooks and will always be shoddy. We need a coach and staff that will work well with ALL our players and imbibe the requisite tactical, technical and physical qualities needed to get us to the next level in 2018. Nigeria is better off without the EGOMANIAC called Keshi.
midrand
posted: 08:31am 02/07/2014
Thank you keshi! We wish u d best!! Anoher coach wil do better than yur record!!! Yur eye dey bafana job. Get d job n SE are awiting you come sept. Then SE go show u who b d master!
dabC
posted: 08:37am 02/07/2014
If Keshi can open his garbage mouth to single out Osaze and throw him under the bus for the Iran game then he should take criticism like a man. A man must be able to take as much as he gives. Good riddance to this man abeg. Wey Sia1, give him his team back.
zaboye
posted: 08:38am 02/07/2014
Read this article and you will see the prediction made by Remi DaCosta about Keshi's team. http://www.cokerconfidential.com/2014/06/i-am-sorry-but-these-eagles-are.html?showComment=1404282993521#c5955725819462767408
Philosopher`
posted: 08:38am 02/07/2014
This new is fake. KESHI denied ever resigning from the National team
jossy
posted: 08:43am 02/07/2014
Good riddance to BAD RUBBISH.Keshi you have taken SE as far as you can.Thank you,but you are not good enough for our SE.
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