NFF Downgrades Stephen Keshi

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In what appears to be a drastic deviation from the practice in the past, Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, is gradually reducing the power of the Chief Coach of the senior national team, Stephen Keshi to call up players for the national duties.

President of the NFF, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, disclosed that henceforth the invitation of players for Eagles’ duties no longer lies exclusively with Keshi.

Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi
Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi

Pinnick revealed that invitation of players into the Super Eagles will now go through a process that will actively involve a brainstorming session with the technical study group headed by ex-international, Austin Okocha and the technical director of the federation, Shuaibu Amodu.

“Everything you are seeing has Keshi’s input; the only people that are not working really well now are the technical study group because this is a process. Keshi doesn’t have that liberty any more to say he wants to invite somebody from Greece,” Pinnick told footballlive.ng.

The controversy surrounding the invitation of players stemmed from Stephen Keshi’s call up to an unattached player in the domestic scene and even made the bench of the national team during the 2017 AFCONQ in Kaduna last weekend.

The NFF queried both Keshi and Captain Vincent Enyeama over issues surrounding Eagles AFCON qualifier against Chad.

Keshi was queried by the federation to explain why non-league striker Gabriel Okechukwu made the Eagles substitute bench, while Enyeama was to explain his comments regarding the safety of match venue Kaduna.

Striker Okechukwu features for non-league Water FC of Abuja and he failed to make the final cut for the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand after he was named on a 35-man provisional squad.

Pinnick however noted that if anything goes wrong, the federation won’t blame Keshi. “If anything goes wrong, Keshi will not be held responsible rather it is going to be Amodu and we have communicated that to him because he is also part of the process,” said Pinnick.

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