From Mumini Alao in Brasilia:
Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has lambasted the officiating in his team’s Round of 16 game against France in Brasilia on Monday.
USA referee Mark Geiger was in charge of the game which saw some of the Nigerian players being the victims of some horrendous tackles from the French players.
Canadian assistant referee, Joe Fletcher in the first half ruled out an Emmanuel Emenike goal as he was flagged offside.
Keshi bared his mind during a post match conference after the game.
“We had a very good game but we were unlucky,” Keshi begins. “The result did not reflect the proceedings of the game. We had a good goal disallowed. I will like to know why the referee cancelled the goal by Emmanuel Emenike in the first half.
“He (the referee) is a human being so I understand that he can make some mistakes. But today’s referee made too many mistakes. He’s the Alpha and the Omega and there’s nothing we can do. But I’m not happy about it. I think he was biased. This is the first time in my career that I will talk about a referee. I’m not happy about what happened.”
Keshi, who stated he did not know whether to continue on his job as the Eagles coach took exceptions to the rash challenges which his players were subjected to.
“My players suffered a lot from bad tackles but the ref did nothing about it. Twice, Onazi was hacked down before they finally took him out. Now, he cannot play for weeks. It is painful. I don’t think we deserve to lose today’s game this way. But this things happen in football.
The Nigerian boss wondered why standout goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama did not decidedly handle the threat of the ball which led to the French first goal.
“I can’t tell why Enyeama parried the ball (that led to France’s first goal) rather than punch it away. It was his decision to take and the cost to us was big. But when you lose a game, you don’t need to look for individuals to blame. We win as a team and we lose as a team. I’m not looking for a scapegoat.”
The former Togo and Mali coach spoke about the players that would have made his squad for the World Cup and gave reasons why they were not selected for the World Cup.
“One player I would have loved to bring to the World Cup was Bright Dike but he was injured. Also, Leon Balogun could have added something to the team but he also got injured.
“I couldn’t have asked for a greater support than we got today from the Brazilians. It was as though we were playing at home. I appreciate the Brazilians, I thank them for their support. Unfortunately, we couldn’t give them a win.
“The organization of the World Cup has been wonderful. The stadia, the security, the officials, everything has been wonderful.
“But now that it’s over for my team, what is next is for me is to go and see my family in the United States. I’ve been away from my wife and children for so long.