by Mark Bassey
Head coach of the Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, has agreed to sign a
N6million contract to stay on as gaffer of the senior male national football team.
He will sign the agreement with the Nigeria Football Federation and the Sports Ministry once the NFF crisis is resolved.
On the evening of Thursday, 28 August, the Sports Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, NSC, Tamuno Danagogo, disclosed to journalists in Abuja, that the current crisis has been the major factor hindering Keshi’s contract signing.
Danagogo said, “We all know that Keshi’s contract expired after the World Cup and we were trying to see whether they would negotiate with him, then Maigari was suspended. Umeh came in and reopened talks with him. They said they cannot pay. But we have a match on September 6 so I had to intervene.”
He added that his intervention into the matter prompted Keshi to agree to a new contract.
“I asked Keshi if he was desirous to handle the team again and he said yes. I then asked him to come, assuring him that I would take care of what it takes for him to handle the team for the two matches we have in September after which we can talk about the contract,” he said.
He also revealed that the N1 million naira was the difference between the contract offered to Keshi by the Federation and what he requested. The Minister said, “It is just about N1 million and we believe that it is no longer a challenge.”
Stephen Keshi has been the coach of the Nigerian national team since 2011, and he went on to become the first Nigerian to win the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and a coach at the 2013 tournament. He subsequently took the team to the second round of the 2014 world cup in Brazil, where his contract expired.
Ever since then, he has been in talks with the Nigerian football federation over an improved contract, but the negotiations have stalled, largely because of the crisis at the NFF.
The crisis which has been ongoing for months has seen the football body factionalised, with Chris Giwa having a set of loyalists, while Aminu Maigari, also claiming to still be the President of the federation.
Maigari was arrested alongside Musa Amadu, the NFF Secretary-General, and Chris Green, a board member, by the State Security Service, SSS, on Tuesday, 26 August.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian league players and top club managers have joined the referees’ boycott of the Nigeria league, until the crisis is resolved.