NFF Set to Make Final Decision On Keshi

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will “make a pronouncement on Stephen Keshi in a matter of days” according to the federation’s President, Amaju Pinnick. Pinnick made the disclosure when he appeared before Nigeria’s senate committee on Sports to defend the NFF’s budget for 2015. Keshi has uptill March 12 to decide whether to accept the new contract he has been offered by the NFF or seek his greener pastures elsewhere.

The NFF chief explained that the seeming delay is borne out of the NFF’s desire to avoid “mistakes of the past” when offering coaches of the senior national teams, contracts. “After I was elected (President of the NFF), I went through a lot of documentation and I found out that in the past, coaches are employed and some issues are not sorted out. “So I made sure that all the committees that had (anything) to do with the employment of a coach (sat for meetings). “From the legal committee of the federation, to the technical committee, and because we will not want any form of issues after a coach would have been (appointed),” Pinnick said.

The NFF has proposed to pay Keshi an monthly salary of N5 million, the same amount he earned as coach of the national team between 2011 and 2014. Pinnick said there was no increase because the federation had to consider the “reality on ground.” “And again, taking into cognizance that the reality on ground, (dropping prices of oil), I told them what realistically the federation could offer to pay the coach. “Because of all these it took some time to come up with a contract but I can assure you that the contract that we offered Stephen Keshi, went through a lot of processes which will show that we did a very thorough job. “In terms of the finance, we have offered to pay him N5million monthly. We also have provisions for housing, and some other ancillary and very realistic benefits which are all enshrined in his contract.

“The contract has been forwarded to him. We have been hearing all sorts of stories in the media since then but we will take those with a pinch of salt until we receive official correspondence from him. “A few days ago, I ordered that a reminder (as regards his reply to the contract proposal) be sent to him (Keshi). I even made a personal phone call to him and he told me he was travelling. “I did this because we cannot (keep waiting indefinitely). We have two international friendlies against Bolivia and South Africa (later this month). “We will face Bolivia on March 26 in Uyo and South Africa on March 29. We are looking at getting the team into camp from (this week). “We are in the process of rebuilding the national team so we can take the challenges up. We have upcoming World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches. Meanwhile, Sports Minister, Tammy Danagogo has warned the NFF not to employ a lesser coach than Keshi should the ex-Togo coach decline to lead the Super Eagles.

“What I have urged the NFF to do is makes sure that should Keshi not be given the job, a coach with a lesser pedigree than Keshi is employed. I have said we should encourage our local coaches,” said the country’s top sports official. “Many have argued that presently Keshi is the best we have for now, while others are of the view that he has done his best. “What I am saying is this, if Keshi declined the job, let’s look for another competent hand from the home front. But if we must get a foreign coach, then we must get the best hands not just any foreign coach.

He added: “And when we say the best hands, we should be looking at coaches in the class of the Jose Mourinho’s of this world, Pep Guardiola… Those are the kind of coaches we should be looking at. “But if we say Keshi is the best hand locally, I am not saying we should give him the job, but what we can do is help our local hands get better by sending them to refresher courses to make them better,” concludes the minister.

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