The Keshi we don’t want

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Fidelis Duker QEDBy the time you will be reading this article, the Super Eagles would have won, drawn or lost our second match against Bosnia-Herzegovina. The crux of this piece is to raise and advice against some issues that might seal the hope of the Nigerian team at the Brazil World Cup. The no-love-lost relationship between chief coach Stephen Keshi and Stoke City wonder-boy Osaze Odemwingie that saw him nearly miss the World Cup is still very much in the team.

Osaze had long apologized to Keshi before he was recalled to the national team and to the World Cup. Keshi sacrificed Ike Uche, another red-hot Nigerian attacker who scores goals with eyes closed, on charges of being ‘technically indiscipline” which we gathered was as a result of Uche’s questioning of Keshi’s technical depth as a coach. This in my opinion is gross indiscipline on the part of the player but not something that is unforgivable because even the God we all worship irrespective of our belief and religion forgives. .

And on a night that Keshi’s team was rudderless except for Osaze who brought vim and vitality to the attack; Keshi still threw potshots at Osaze for not playing to instructions. The sad reality is that keshi made the derogatory condemnation at the post match parley with the media. And for a coach to openly condemn your player is rather sad and regrettable considering the fact that the coach was expected to motivate and encourage his team ahead of the next match.

It is gratifying to note that many Nigerians have come out to condemn the blunt attack of the Eagles by the coach and singling  out of Osaze who in the opinion of many Nigerians brought to fire to the attack of the eagles in the match against Iran. It was therefore strange that Keshi had to bare his fangs on the Stoke City player and from insinuations even went ahead to threaten that the player might not play the second match against Bosnia.

When you listen to Keshi’s vituperations over Osaze at the post match brief when a journalist observed the change Osaze’s inclusion brought to the match; our chief coach responded ”No. no, no. Osaze didn’t play well. What he played was not the role I asked him to play,” he said leaving many of the journalists at the media parley bewildered and shocked.

It was on this same night that Emmanuel Emenike was a shadow of himself and instead of being the point man, decided to be playing wide from the wings coupled with wrong passes from Ogenyi Onazi and Mikel who was holding on to the ball for too long. The introduction of Osaze at least brought a sparkling ray of hope. At one instance, he fired a ferocious shot that got everybody standing on their feet as the ball narrowly missed target. He passed balls accurately but Keshi would not have that credit go to him because he has not forgiven Osaze and will not forget his problem with him.

It is therefore unfortunate that this is the type of coach that Nigeria has bestowed his national team on, a coach who lacks maturity in the handling of issues, a coach who publicly castigates his players and goes into petty fights with his team. We cannot forget in a hurry how his threat to resign as national team coach after the Nations Cup victory in South Africa and the embarrassment it brought to the nation but for the timely intervention of the federal government.

However, we cannot forget the global embarrassment for Africa by the Cameroonian team who turned a football match into a boxing contest and this is an advice to Keshi that if he, as the leader, begins to show pettiness and bitterness within the team there is every tendency that the unity that makes any world class team will become elusive and the danger of another Cameroonian drama might be the fate of the Nigerian team at Brazil 2014 because our average or half-baked team  will not only be knocked out but we will return disunited and scandalized.

On a final note, I wish the team the best in their next two matches because like they say anything is possible in football. So they should go all out and put out their best and qualify for the second round even with our obvious limitations.