By Charles Novia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Seriously, I think Keshi should go. Haba! His era has come to an end. Yes, he won us the Nations Cup and qualified us for the World Cup. He is arguably a Good Coach but he is not a Tactical Coach. I have restrained myself for weeks from criticising his tactics but since his latest arrogance last night maybe he needs to hear some home truths.
1. How in the world could a Coach go to a World Cup with no ATTACKING MIDFIELDER in tow? Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi are defensive midfielders and there was no credible substitute on the bench. It is befuddling that Keshi dropped Sunday Mba, Nosa Igiebor, Kalu Uche and Joel Obi for personal reasons. Our midfield killed our World Cup ambitions. There were no attacking midfielders to add bite to the attack and to take pressure off the defence. Till today, Keshi has no good reason to give on why he dropped those players. His stupid reason for dropping Kalu Uche was that Uche does not play to instructions. Huh? Look at his replacements. That Flavour look-alike who was only good for dancing Ikwokrikwo on the field. To show how deficient Keshi was tactically, immediately Onazi was injured, the gum-chewing Coach had no back-up. His confusion set in when one Azeez was first asked to get on the field and then brashly dropped for an unknown Gabriel. Who the hell was that Gabriel?
2. When the NFF made to sanction his WC list, Keshi deftly played the media to his side. With hindsight, the NFF was right. In the future, I think the NFF should be given at least three slots in choosing players for a coach when they doubt his competence. Our team was a disaster waiting to happen. We were in a relatively easy group and that is why we qualified both in the qualifying rounds and in the WC first round. Let’s be realistic.
3. Historically, anytime we have a crisis of money in the Eagles camp with the NFF or defunct NFA owing allowances, our boys do very well. The hunger to earn the promised funds spurs them. In this WC, these boys were lavishly paid. Deservedly, maybe. But with each taking home close to 25 million naira per player, look at what they played against France last night!
4. Keshi is uncouth and insensitive. At the press conference after the match last night, he blamed Vincent Enyeama for the first goal. A coach does not upbraid a player publicly and certainly not one in the class of Enyeama who is one of the top five keepers in the world today!
In fact, for these transgressions against the millions of Super Eagles fans and more, we should accept Keshi’s resignation. I re-iterate that we were not going to win the Cup anyway but we had a clear chance to defeat France last night. The lack of tactical depth killed us. And that blame lies on the coach.
Oh, in case any jock is wondering why I am so passionate about football or what I know about the game, let me tell you. Since 2004, I have won 26 European Champions Cup, 10 World Cups and 50 league titles in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy as well as numerous manager of the year titles on my Playstation. I have played PS2, PS3 and just bought a PS4. I have played and won in the ‘Manager Mode’ uncountable times and at the highest difficulty levels. So, I know what I am talking about technically. If anyone doubts me, challenge me to an online FIFA 2014 contest and see if I won’t beat you hands down. I played Nigeria versus France three days ago and already saw the deficiencies of our team.
Abeg, Keshi go joor!
- Novia is a filmmaker