Stories by ROMANUS UGWU, Abuja
The Minister of Sports and Chairman National Sports Commission (NSC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, has consciously admitted that the authorities did not actually manage the circumstances that culminated into the resignation of Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, even as he expressed joy that the situation was brought under control.
While reacting officially to media on the issue that took shine off the celebration of winning the 29th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations by Super Eagles, the sports minister confessed that there were issues between Keshi and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), stressing that the rift was not properly managed until it was blown out of proportion.
His words: “The issue of Keshi’s resignation was blown out of proportion. Yes, there were issues between him and the federation, but I think that things were not properly managed as they should be until they almost got out of hands. However, thank God I was on ground to discuss with Keshi on how to handle the issue. “Let me say categorically that Keshi never tendered resignation in the first place, so the issue of withdrawing the resignation did not arise.
Of course, he contemplated resigning, but when we sat down, we brought everything to order and Keshi remains the Super Eagles’ coach,” he assured. The honourable minister equally revealed that machinery would be put in place to ensure that the AFCON success was not a one-off, stressing: “Certainly, we will look into the factors that contributed to what we achieved and seek to build on them. We don’t want this success to be a one-off thing. We want to win again and again.”
On how he feels about the glorious moment, the former minister of Youth Development responded: “Of course, we are excited and happy with everything that happened during the tournament. We did not expect to get to this point, but here we are, we have to thank God for what he has done. “Interestingly, since we won the trophy, the whole country has been agog with celebration and excitement.
There is a sense of reconnection with the nation itself. Everybody is feeling Nigerian again and we have every reason to thank God that we are part of the process that brought the victory,” he quipped.