Interim Super Eagles manager, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi says the row over bonuses was partly to blame for Nigeria’s ouster at the second round of the last FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Saharareporters gathered.
Keshi in an interview with CAF’s media unit ahead of today’s AFCON qualifier added that he only returned to his post for the next two matches (Against Congo today and South Africa on September 10th) due to the high number of calls he was getting from many respectable Nigerians pleading with him to return.
“Initially, I didn’t want to do it because I was done with Nigerian football having coached the team for over two and half years but I got a lot of calls from respectable Nigerians who wanted me to continue with the work; and sometimes when people talk to you, you have to ,” The former Bendel Insurance player said.
Before baring his mind regarding the Eagles showing at the Mundial on the South American continent after being asked what he wished was, done differently “Differently? Maybe I would have loved that anything that has to do with finance (money) had long been sorted out before we got to the World Cup because it is always a delicate matter when you are in a tournament. This could take away the concentration of the players, and since we had the money issue, their concentration level was not the same, but we kept pushing them. This is what I told them that anything financial should be sorted long before we got to Brazil but the players, and the NFF could not settle all of this. But what a shame that it came out that way at the World Cup but all that is in the past now.” The gaffer concluded.
It will be recalled that West African neighbours Nigeria and Ghana both suffered embarrassing moments during the last World Cup where their players threatened to boycott matches due to unpaid bonuses before the issues were resolved.
Contract negotiations between Keshi and the Nigeria Football Federation will likely continue immediately after Eagles clash with South Africa next week.