Coach Stephen Keshi resignation saga is throwing up more facts as the Senate President David Mark on Tuesday revealed that the Nigeria Football Federation had pressured him into signing a fresh clause to his contract that would have placed a new foreign technical adviser above him.
Mark made the revelation in Abuja while addressing the Senate on his trip to Africa Nations Cup and the crisis that hit the Nigeria camp immediately after winning the trophy on Sunday.
President of the Senate said that he spoke to Keshi on the phone on Tuesday morning and confirmed that the coach had actually resigned, and cited reasons of interference for his decision.
He said, “I spoke with Stephen Keshi this morning and he confirmed to me that he actually said that he has resigned. He said the reason is because there was too much interference even before the final match on Sunday. There was a lot of pressure on him that he must accept foreign technical adviser and this he is opposed to because he thinks that all that we need is in this country. That there are Nigerians who can work with him and he doesn’t see the gain in bringing foreigners.
“But he also said he was sorry he had to actually put in his resignation. But I think he is prepared to rescind it provided that we don’t force foreign technical partners on him. Once we give him the team to manage we should give him the free hand to manage the team.
“Whatever way he goes to get the result shouldn’t be our problem because once we begin to meddle in the way he is going to run and manage the team then we cannot get results. Once we give him the task we should give him the free hand to accomplish the task and bring the result and I think this Senate must be unanimous in that. “We should prevail on him not to resign and also that the Sports Ministry or the administrators must give him the free hand to bring us the result that we want. People believe that we are great but we must show them that we can do it not by words but by actions.”
Earlier on the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and others, had brought for consideration a motion on Nigeria’s victory at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
Ekweremadu, while presenting the motion noted the tenacity and the spirit, patriotic zeal as well as the unity and team spirit displayed by players, coaches and the entire management.
He also noted with satisfaction, the contribution of the home-based players to the overall success of the team.
“The Senate is nevertheless mindful of the degeneration of grassroots football, poor standard of our local leagues, and the many challenges facing the nation’s football and sports development in general,” he said.
In its resolution, the Senate gave the team a standing ovation after congratulating the players and the coaches.