Amaju’s thorny long road to Keshi  | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Amaju’s thorny long road to Keshi 

Posted: Apr 25, 2015 at 12:17 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Emiko Bake


When you point one finger at somebody, warning him or her, the thumb looks away while the other three fingers point at you; obviously asking you to be careful of what you are doing or saying.

Finally, Amaju Pinnick led Nigeria Football Association (NFA) has contracted Coach Stephen Keshi for another two years; apparently after scanning all nooks and crannies of the land and beyond for a better hand.  It took them close to one year scouting for a replacement for the towering sweat merchant, whose outstanding performances in his first tenure as the Super Eagles’ chief nest tender was quite unique.

Keshi’s final choice can not be divorced from the obvious fact that, aside his glossy slate, financial impediments of hiring a foreign coach would have played a significant role.  Also, there are terms and conditions for him, all of which, though, denied by the Amaju football house, is tinkering Nigerian home-based players as fashioned by South African Bafana Bafana coach, Shakes, whose virtually home-based boys stunned the African continent at the last Africa Nations Cup Tournament in Equatorial Guinea.  Now they want Nigerian football players to form the bulk of the Super Eagles, a team that could be capable of stunning not just Africa, but the rest of the globe.

Yes, Keshi could handle just that but the football association should be ready to take the knocks from any failure; they should be kitted-up and have their loins girded to face the trauma faced by coaches and stir clear of his choice of players; they should be geared-up to defend the coach at any given time in the face of a slip…remember that while they were pointing just one finger at the coach, their thumbs looked the other way, while the other three fingers stared at them with Seyi  Akinwunmi, Pinnick’s chief disciple at the Glass House, delivering the signed and sealed contract to the Ilah, Delta State-born Stephen.

The football body should this time around be mindful of the fact that, the coach’s slip at most times, is all-encompassing and not his cross alone.  They must have been convinced beyond any iota of doubts that Keshi  is Nigeria’s best coach at least as at today, if his enviable golden chalked-up scroll of achievements are anything to go by; and unarguably the cheapest they could hire now given the wind of change that is blowing across the land and the exit of His Master’s Voice (HMV).

Remember that while you were reeling out your terms and conditions and signing, sealing and delivering the document of legal authorisation for Keshi to tend the Eagles’ nest for the next two years, your fingers were all facing the document and not the coach.  Be reminded too that you should keep your house clean and that those who live in glass houses don’t throw stones or even be caught with any stone-looking object.

Great, we have gone back to the American sportswear manufacturers to shirt our football-playing teams including the girls and women… a two-way shuttle kind of maneuver between Germany and America by the Nigerian soccer house lords.  I had always thought that marketers should woo buyers, but in our case, it is the opposite – buyers – NFA jostle for a piece of the Americans’ second class or hand wears in the name of kits.  Or are we saying that what the German sports wear guys offered us to the last World Cup was of the best  quality?  I am just hoping that while Pinnick Amaju was signing the kits contract in London earlier in the week, he categorically told the manufacturers that a pebble-rolling wind of change is whirling across and around our nation now and as such, we are not ready to kit our men and women in skimpy shirts and shorts made from the by-products of other nations’ kits.  If you have seen or felt the stuff of what the Delta State’s teams’ kits are made, perhaps, yes perhaps, you would know and appreciate what I am talking about…and they were claimed to have been bought abroad by the same man who is in charge of that State’s sports.

Promise I will be blunt but fair if the new kits for our national teams are not worth the flight fares to the United Kingdom to sign the deal.


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