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Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has described as ridiculous a media report which quoted his former assistant Sylvanus Okpala as saying that the money given to the team by the Cross River government for last year’s Nations Cup triumph was shared with Nigeria Football Federation officials.
 
Speaking from Abuja after reading the story, which quoted Okpala as saying the money was taken from those of officials and players in order to ensure peace, which has now eluded the team, Keshi described the comment as not only untrue, but a calculated attempt to pitch him against his employers.
 
"I want to assume that Sylvanus was misquoted, but if not then there is no truth in such a claim, because the NFF have never asked or shared from any monies given to the team by supporters and well-meaning Nigerians and state governments.”
 
Keshi also added that he as the head coach does not handle money and could not have been the one that paid Okpala, for him to ask questions about short payment.
 
"We have our rules here in the team and the team administrator normally liaises with the captain and other relevant authorities before such monies are doled out,” he said.
 
“Indeed, the Cross River Government was very clear about who gets what and the money was paid direct to the account of all the players and officials".
 
He said why Okpala, maybe angry with the NFF over his present employment status, blackmail will go nowhere in correcting perceived wrongdoing.
 
"I don’t know why the media and some of our friends like to drag me into all these controversies when we should be concentrating on preparation for the World Cup,” he said.
 
“Maybe the name Keshi just evokes some form of joy in their minds and the only way to appreciate it is to put me under the searchlight all the time, it’s not fair on me please".

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