Why I Wanted Stephen Keshi To Go, And Why I Didn’t
It’s a natural thing for every supporter of the Super Eagles to always want them to win. At least, more times than they lose. When things don’t go this way, they look for whom to blame and most times it’s the coach. Stephen Keshi, who used to be the Super Eagles coach lost his job as a result of this.
As a supporter of the super eagles, I had a mixed feeling with Stephen Keshi’s role as a coach of the Super Eagles. One part of me wanted him to resign and the other didn’t.
Why I wanted Keshi to retain his position
The first and rather obvious one is:
He won the 2013 AFCON for Nigeria after 19 years
While this event is long gone, the memories of the event would live on with me forever.
I was happy to see Nigeria lift the 2013 AFCON for the first time in my life after so much disappointment over the years.
He emphasized on home-based talents
Not many people would have known about Sunday Mba if not for Keshi. I’ve seen high quality local players that never made it mainstream, but are as good—if not better— than some of the players in the Super Eagles team. So emphasizing on home based talents provides an opportunity for more talents to be discovered.
The super eagle’s performance in the Confederations Cup thrilled me
They did not pass the group stages—no thanks to poor finishing and defensive mistakes—but I saw a huge potential in the team.
He emphasized on younger (energetic) players
Although there are some senior players that as good as any young player, younger players are generally more energetic and hungry to prove themselves
Stephen Keshi let the older guys go, although most times unceremoniously.
Why I wanted Stephen Keshi to resign
Poor performance in the 2014 World Cup
The Super Eagles almost lost to Iran, although the match ended in a draw to the disappointment of many Super Eagles fans.
The Super Eagles could not beat France even it dominated the game. Les Bleus ended up beating the Super Eagles by two goals to nil (no thanks to a poor defense).
Poor AFCON qualification results
The 3-1 result against Sudan was quite good, especially having performed poorly in the previous matches. With the situation of things, beating South Africa and DR Congo wouldn’t be easy.
Some good players weren’t invited
In the 2014 Guinness Champoins Cup penalty shootout against Liverpool FC, Iheanacho scored even when players like Jesus Navas and Yaya Toure missed.
Iheanacho was the best player in the 2013 U-17 FIFA world cup of which Nigeria lifted. While this is different from the senior team, remember that Pele, and Ronaldo were about the same age when they joined Brazilian senior team that won World Cups.
Besides, it seems he had personal problems with some other good players, so he didn’t invite them, and this may have been to the expense of the team.
He used some consistently underperforming players
IIt is good to believe in people. However, when these people keep on under-performing for a long period of time and show no sign of improvement then it’s best to give them a break. While this may be harsh, it’s just the right thing to do.
He didn’t put up a formidable defense and attack
Stephen Keshi was a Super Eagles defender during his playing career during a period the team was highly ranked. You’d naturally expect him to construct a solid defense for the Super Eagles as a coach, but that’s not the case. This hurt the team’s success in the 2013 Confederation Cup and the 2014 World Cup.
Nigerians need to learn
According to a recent news on VanguardNgr, the NFF president said Keshi was sacked to save his life from irate Nigerian fans. Keshi clearly had issues he needed to solve, but these irate Nigerian fans have no right to throw stuff at him. They should realise football is just a game and while every fan wants his/her team to win, it’s important not to allow the result of any match affect their mood to the extent that they cause trouble.
Maybe Keshi’s absence is just the right amount of thing they need to teach a lesson on having a good temperament.