1980 Nations Cup winner, Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka yesterday said that the Nigeria Football Federation was wrong to sack the assistant coach of the Super Eagles, Sylvanus Okpala, without the consent of Stephen Keshi.
Former Attorney-General of Rivers State, also said that the ongoing reformation process by the NFF in the Super Eagles, which has led to the sacking of some backroom staff and reduction of bonuses was a ruse to frustrate Keshi out of the Eagles post.
Coach Stephen Keshi has Adokiye said that he was not surprised with the current plot to unsettle Keshi, noting that the NFF was envious of the fame and fortune made by the former Eagles captain after the Nations Cup triumph in South Africa last February.
“Ordinarily, the NFF can hire and fire but the circumstances here make the situation rather unfortunate. How do you sack an assistant coach, without reference to the chief coach, especially when he was recommended by the chief coach? The chief coach must have seen something in him that he considered to be useful. So it bothers me that Keshi was reportedly not consulted.
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“The critical question here is why was Keshi not consulted; that is very suspicious and very unfortunate. But I am not surprised because the so-called NFF are not happy that Keshi won the Nations Cup. They are not happy and they want him out so that they will go ahead and appoint their foreign coach, no matter his calibre.
“And I wished that Keshi had stuck to his guns and resigned after the Nations Cup victory. The so-called NFF want to see Keshi’s back. They do not want him to even be there. This reformation they are carrying out is a ruse. I am not surprised too that they have sacked some backroom staff .
These backroom staff got millions from State Governors. They were given gifts and money and do you think that the guys in the NFF are happy? They are not happy that these people have become millionaires. Nigerians don’t know the people they are dealing with.
“There is envy in it. I am telling you that they are envious. They are not just jealous but envious. They are not happy that Keshi has made so much money, that his backroom staff have made so much money.
That is why they are doing all these things. Nigerians should read between the lines. These are people who had gone to the NFF to make money. They are there to make money for themselves, they are not there to run football, in the first place.
“When they are there and Keshi and his backroom staff are making millions, do you think they are happy?” They are not. That is why they want Keshi to fail”, added Adokiye, who appealed to the Sports Minister to intervene by calling the NFF to stop pursuing vendetta against Keshi.
“I want the Sports Minister to intervene because for now, he is the one running football courtesy of the NFA Act of 2004. They want to discourage Keshi. They want him to fail.
How can you sack someone like Sylvanus Okpala, who we know is a very competent tactician, without reference to his boss. They do not want Keshi to be happy”, he said.
He said that it will be very difficult for the Eagles to do well in their subsequent World Cup qualifying matches if the situation in the team is not arrested now.
Watch out for the details of the interesting interview with Adokiye in SportsVanguard on Friday.