Barrister Iyke Igbokwe, Vice chairman, Nigeria Football Federation, NFF’s Disciplinary Committee, has stated that Stephen Keshi should be sacked if ongoing investigations prove he actually applied for the job of the Ivorian national team.
The Super Eagles Coach was listed among 60 applicants for the vacant Les Éléphants coaching job according to reports from Abidjan, though the 53-year-old had repeatedly denied the allegations.
Barrister Igbokwe insists Keshi’s action would have amounted to a breach of trust, an insult to Nigeria and hence the contractual agreement between Keshi and the federation should be mutually terminated.
“If he applied for the Ivory Coast job then the element of trust is gone. You can’t apply for an Ivorian job in the middle of a Nations Cup qualifying run. I would advise the NFF to sack him because this is an insult on the nation,” he said on Brila FM early Thursday in Lagos.
Keshi resumed his job after a new contract was offered him by the federation and got the qualification series off for the 2017 AFCON on a winning note against Chad in Kaduna, but Igbokwe says Nigeria can do without Keshi or his captain, Vincent Enyeama.
Enyeama was summoned by the NFF for ‘unguarded comments’ made before the AFCON qualifier in Kaduna.
Igbokwe argued that the Eagles can move on, and demanded that discipline must be enforced in the system.
“Without Keshi or Enyeama, Nigerian football will move on but we must instill discipline in the football system. That is key. After all, before Vincent there was Ike Shorunmu, Peter Rufai, Best Ogedengbe and there was even Emmanuel Okpala,” Igbokwe said.
Meanwhile, former Assistant General Secretary on Technical Matters, James Peters has warned NFF management to be careful in handling the ongoing case of Keshi, saying that the coach may not be entirely wrong if he applied for the vacant Ivory Coast job and may not have breached any law if the terms of his contract don’t state it as such.
Peters suggested the current Keshi contract scandal should be the necessary impetus to put in place a “sound technical department” with “qualified and able” persons to take over the team until a suitable substantive coach is hired if Keshi is sacked.
“If he applied I don’t certainly expect him to divulge that information to his employers, I don’t see anything wrong about him applying for another job,” said Peters.
He said Keshi’s case “should not be blown out of proportion. He shouldn’t be castigated. If these terms are not spelt out in his contract, then it’s not an issue because cases like this happened on different occasions in the past with foreign handlers.
“If he gets a job in Jamaica today I would support his decision to leave if that be the case,” he said.