Nigeria to reinstate Keshi as national team coach

Abuja, Oct 31 (IANS) Nigerian authorities have decided to reinstate Stephen Keshi, coach of the senior national football team, who was relieved of his job exactly two weeks ago by the football federation.

Toyin Ibitoye, spokesman of the national football team, also known as ‘Super Eagles’, Thursday said Keshi had already been re-contacted for the job and his return as the team coach should be expected in few days time, reports Xinhua.
Other sources at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) confirmed the development, saying the decision was made after senior officials in the West African country met to discuss the way forward for its football teams.
However, no official statement has been so far issued on the development, either by the coach or his employers.
The sources said Keshi was considered to prepare the ‘Super Eagles’ for the forthcoming African Cup Of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Congo Brazzaville and South Africa next month.
The coach’s dismissal was announced Oct 16, despite a home win against Sudan which kept Nigeria in the running to defend their African title.
The local football federation had immediately replaced him with the former coach, Shuaibu Amodu, who was saddled with the challenge of qualifying Nigeria for the AFCON tournament next year.
Keshi’s initial sack was not unexpected by football pundits in Nigeria, as his performance and choice of players in the last 12 matches played by the ‘Super Eagles’ had made him unpopular among local football fans.
His team had lost five, drawn five and won only two of their last 12 matches.
Among other reasons he was dismissed earlier, a top football official, who preferred to be anonymous, said it dawned on the football administrators that the coach was struggling to qualify Nigeria for the 2015 AFCON, and has so far recorded a home and away defeat in Calabar and Sudan respectively.
Nigeria are currently third in their qualifying group and would need to win their last two matches to have a chance of qualification.