Former Super Eagles Stephen Keshi insists that he is not desperate to coach the senior national team. In this interview with JOHNNY EDWARD, the ex-national team captain who led the Nigerian team to win the 2013 AFCON in South Africa says the FA is playing games with his contract despite making public announcement that he has been endorsed to lead the team again. He also claims the FA owes him two months salaries and many more….
How have you been enjoying your break from football?
I have been enjoying it very well. You know when we started the job three years ago, we barely had a break and we were just working, taking part in one tournament or the other. I must tell you that it is good to have a break and focus on some other things but I’m ready to make a return when the time is right.
No doubt you followed the just concluded Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea where Ivory Coast won the tournament. How would you rate the standard and performance of the teams that featured in the tournament and will you say the Ivoirians were worthy successors to the Super Eagles?
I think the standard dropped a bit from the previous one in 2013 but at the just concluded AFCON, I saw some brilliant individual players. The skipper of Guinea was a standout performer for me. The performance wasn’t that bad but it could have been better.
Secondly, I think the Ivoirians were worthy successors of the Super Eagles, don’t forget I have knit ties with Abdijan. What most people don’t understand is that the best teams at a major tournament often don’t win it.
The best team plays good football but don’t win while those who find their form after each game go on to win. Also most times luck plays a part. I’m happy Cote D Iviore won because they have suffered heart-aches in the past. They also have in their ranks good players.
So which of these scenarios was it for the Eagles in 2013?
We gained form after each game and the unity amongst the players brought us luck as well.
You must have heard that German Gernot Rohr has been picked for the Burkina Faso job.
What’s your take on that?
Good luck to him on the job. I have offers that I have been considering and Burkina Faso is just one of them.
But the NFF have reportedly stated that they have offered you a new deal….
They are being economical with the truth. They have not offered me anything. The last time I spoke to anybody from the NFF was two months ago. I only read in the newspapers that I have been offered a new deal. I also want Nigerians to know that I’m not heady and I’m not so crazy about coaching Nigeria. If the offer comes fine and if it doesn’t, all is well.
There are other places and like I have said earlier in interviews like this, it is not a do or die to coach the Eagles. I have done mine and that’s fine. The NFF think without Nigerian football there is no other place to coach. I must tell you that it is a very wrong assumption.
Despite all these, would you still want to coach the Nigerian national team?
I’m a professional coach and I will love to coach Nigeria provided the terms and conditions are acceptable, sure why not. It’s not about coaching, the atmosphere must be conducive but if it’s not, then there’s no point. We must to be united and if we can’t, the count me out but they should pay my outstanding salaries.
The FA owes us two months salaries plus our winning bonus for the game against Sudan. Because I am keeping quiet that’s why they think they can portray me in as a bad person but I will let Nigerians know that it is all a dirty plan. I pray this doesn’t continue.