Stephen Keshi denies being sacked, as Ethiopia woos him

by Mark Bassey

Erstwhile coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi has categorically refuted the claims that he was axed by the Nigeria Football Federation.

While speaking in Ilorin during the final of the ‘All Financial Institutions Football competition’ on Saturday, 18 September, Keshi said as opposed to widespread belief that he was sacked, his contract with the NFF ended immediately after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Keshi also expressed optimism at the possibility of the Super Eagles qualifying for the African Cup of Nations, saying that be team needs to work hard to scale through.

He said, “I was never sacked by the NFF. It’s if you have an existing contract that you would be sacked. Super Eagles can still qualify for the 2015 AFCON. They have the chance, because the group is still open. They only need to work harder.

“We need a lot of encouragement from Nigerians for the players to go ahead and qualify. I think we can qualify for the 2015 AFCON,” he added.

The football federation made public the decision to part ways with Keshi on Thursday, 16 October, while also announcing Shaibu Amodu as his replacement.

In the AFCON qualifying, Nigeria lies third position, in Group A with four points. Sudan is bottom of the group with three points, Congo is second placed with seven points, while South Africa leads the group with eight points.

The Super Eagles will play away with Congo on 14 November, and face South Africa on 19 November.

Meanwhile, Keshi is expected to finalise talks to take over as coach of the Ethiopin national team, sometime this week.

A close source in the Ethiopian FA, revealed that Keshi was expected in Addis Ababa this week to discuss the possibility of taking over the national team.

The source said ,”He is expected in Ethiopia late this week. We hope we can get him because he is a high profile coach who has won AFCON with Nigeria and also took them to the World Cup.”

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