Keshi bristles: I am disappointed, not bitter

Tuesday 21 October 2014

/ by Colin Udoh
Keshi is disappointed 

When he picked up the phone, it was immediately clear that something was missing, something had changed.

Stephen Keshi sounded distant, tired. Which prompted the question of whether he had just got out of bed. That drew a little laugh 'At this time?'

It was slightly hollow, but at least he sounded much better. But that was as good as it got as we immediately got down to the business of his current situation.

"I don't really want to talk about it. What is there to say," Keshi began. "You people have done what you want, and that's it."

Then he launched into a scathing attack on the role played by the media.
"I listened to you on your programme where you analysed my record. But tell me, how many Nigerian coaches were not afraid to play the number of friendly matches I played, and with so many new players?

"Instead of talking about the things that were going wrong inside, you people prefer to keep quiet. That is no journalism.

"A lot of things were going wrong and you people know it. People were not doing what they were supposed to do, but nobody was saying anything."

That was to be the cue for his most repeated complaint.
"How many good pitches do we have in this country? We say we are a football nation and We don't even have good training pitches for the national team, or good field to play on. Instead, there are artificial pitches everywhere.

"Even the new Stadium in Uyo, it was when I heard from the governor that they wanted to use artificial pitch that I had to shout and tell him no way. That is how they used natural grass pitch there. But why should I be the one to say it? Where are the journalists?

It was time to return to his record

"I drew a lot of matches. But how many Nigerian coaches agreed to play friendly matches all the time. Or to use home-based players without fear.

"But people don't see that. Every time it's Keshi this and Keshi that. Then they say I always try to use the President against them. President that I cannot even see.

You know what, I am happy it is over. My family is happy that it is over. I am not bitter. I'm just disappointed in some of you. Now people can stop talking about Keshi.

Keshi said he would have left earlier but only stayed because of his patriotism and appeals from people at the top of government
"I would have left before now, but there were some people in government who kept telling me not to go. And I choose to serve my country.

On the issue of players, Keshi remained defiant
"We are always talking about bringing new players into the team, yet when we invite new players, people will start looking for other motives.

"When you invite players, some will do well, and some will not. As a coach, you have to know which players to stay with and which ones to change. 

"But you have to believe in your players event if others don't."

His replacement, at least for now, is his former boss Shuaibu Amodu. A man with whom Keshi enjoys a good relationship. But he would not offer any more than a short opinion

"You know what, I'm tired. They have brought in new coaches. I wish them the best. I know they will do well."

In all of this, one thing was very clear, Keshi is adamant that he had done enough to deserve more time, and less critical barbs aimed his way.

It is hard to blame him, but the atmosphere was getting a little too poisonous and perhaps what both sides needed is this time away from each other.

Amodu's five reincarnations prove that Keshi can and will one day return.

It will only be matter of time

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  1. Keshi should blame himself too. I respect him a lot but I think at some point, his ego got bigger than his body.


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