Keshi contract talks shelved - officials

2014-09-15 16:07
Stephen Keshi (AFP)

Abuja - Stephen Keshi's future as Nigeria coach hangs in the balance with a decision on whether he stays on only likely to come in the days before the team's next crunch game.

The 52-year-old has agreed to renew his contract and even handled the Super Eagles' first two matches in the competition without a new deal after the intervention of Nigeria's sports minister.

But talks with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) ran cold because of the leadership struggle at the association that prompted a league boycott and saw FIFA threaten a ban from international competition.

"It is up to the NFF to decide who handles the Eagles," said Patrick Omorodion, spokesman for sports minister Tammy Danagogo.

"The minister only requested that Keshi should handle the two games, since there was a vacuum."

FIFA's decision not to ban Nigeria was conditional on new elections being held for the NFF management within the shortest possible time frame.

A vote has been set for September 30 -- 10 days before Nigeria, with only one point from two games, take on Sudan in a must-win Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

But whether Keshi stays in charge is not a given, raising the prospect of another troubled build-up.

"It is only fair that the new NFF leadership be saddled with the responsibility of deciding the fate of Keshi," said one senior official, who asked not to be identified.

"It could well be they would want to have a new man in charge of the national team. It is therefore best they make the call on a coach for the Super Eagles."

Keshi, who has frequently locked horns with his superiors, including unpaid salaries, said after Nigeria's last match against South Africa that his future was up in the air.

"I was just brought in to help manage these two games. We have finished them now, so we'll see what happens. If we come to an agreement, yes, I'll stay. If no, I'll depart," he said.

Critics have long questioned Keshi's team selection and tactics and even before the World Cup finals this year, it was rumoured that the NFF may bring in a foreign coach.

Nigeria face the real prospect of not qualifying for the Nations Cup finals in Morocco next year following the 3-2 home defeat to Congo and lacklustre draw against South Africa.

Keshi has been criticised for overlooking Villarreal striker Ikechukwu Uche, despite his goals at club and international level.

Instead, Keshi has put his put his faith in Emmanuel Emenike, who has not scored for the team since October.

Read more on:    nigeria  |  afcon 2015  |  stephen keshi  |  soccer

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