Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi and the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) will soon head for a showdown over who will make the team for major international outings.
President of the NFA, Mr. Aminu Maigari had threatened on Supersports that Keshi will no longer have exclusive right over who will make his team in any major international outing based on what he described as shoddy performance of the team at the ongoing confederation tourney in Brazil.
But Keshi believes that it is the sole responsibility of the coach to pick his team adding that all the boys that made it to the confederation cup merited it even as Maigari described Nigeria’s early exit from the team at the group stage as unfortunate.
“The Confederations Cup is a big tournament and that’s why the other teams brought their best players,” Maigari told Supersport. Spain brought their best players, but we did not. Why would you bring a local player to play Spain at such a big stage? No-one has come to tell me who to pick and not to select – if the team fails the coach is responsible “This is unacceptable. We have experienced players that were not selected and this is where we have to step in. ‘The coach doesn’t have the sole responsibility on squad selection. We all have to contribute. This team belongs to 165 million people. Selections should affect all these people so we cannot continue to let this happen because we need to compete well with others,” Maigari said.
While reacting to this criticism, Keshi said he understands that Nigerians are emotive and sentimental sometimes but all the players that went to Brazil deserved to be there,” Keshi told BBC “I’m the coach and I can honestly listen to constructive ideas on how we can improve as a team.
“But no-one has come to tell me who to pick and who not to select. If the team fails the coach is responsible. As the coach, it’s my decision and responsibility. For now, the local players have earned the rights to be in the team.”