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Keshi Not Indispensable -Sports Minister

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – Controversies continued to trail the fresh contract of national coaching job offered the Super Eagles handler, Stephen Keshi , the Sports Minister, Tammy Danagogo, has declared that Keshi is not indispensable as the Chief Coach of the National team

The Minister made the declaration on Friday in Abuja while responding to questions from members of the Senate Committee on Sports as regards the indispensability or otherwise of Keshi as the Chief coach of the Nigerian National team ( the Super Eagles) for now against the backdrop of his alleged rejection of the fresh contract.

A member of the committee, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, had during the budget Defence session between the Committee and the Ministry of Sports, asked the Minister why the Ministry and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), still hell bent in appointing Keshi as National Coach despite his failure to qualify the Super Eagles for the last Nation’s Cup last year, a similar offence that led to the sack of Samson Siasia years back.

Danagogo in his response to the question said “the search for Chief coach of the National team is not restricted to Keshi alone but at the moment , he seems to be the one being focused upon by NFF which infact, has led to a fresh contract offered him in that respect but that does not in anyway suggest that Keshi is indispensable.

“Appointing a Chief Coach for the national team is strictly a technical matter that should be looked at on empirical basis and which is directly under the purview of the NFF expected to make the best use of technical staff at its disposal to carry out the exercise.

“Although for now, it is Keshi that have been picked by them but the windows of scouting for the best are still there for them to explore which are not restricted to Keshi”Responding to a related question, the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, denied the rumour making the rounds that Keshi had rejected the fresh contract offered him by declaring that there was no any written letter from Keshi to NFF to that effect.

He Said: “For now, as far as the NFF is concerned p, Keshi is the Chief Coach of the Super Eagles based on the fresh appointment we offered him to that effect which he has not rejected as wrongly reported in the media.”Correspondence should not be hearsay, it should be between employer and employee.

As the employer of Keshi, NFF has not received any letter from him rejecting the new appointment offered him and on the basis of that , NFF strongly believes that he had accepted the offer and will resume very soon in view of serious engagements ahead of the Super Eagles , one of which is the international friendly match with South African national team coming up on the 29th of this month , preparatory to Nation’s cup and World Cup qualifiers coming up months ahead”.

He explained that the fresh appointment offered Keshi is largely based upon the template of the former, which gives him N5million as monthly basic salary, official residence here in Abuja and some other ancillaries in form of attractive allowances.

The committee however took up both the Minister of Sports and the Director General of the Nigeria Sports Commission (NSC), Gbenga Elegbeleye over illegal construction of about 140 shops inside the premises of the Ahmadu Bello stadium in Kaduna, a development that is contrary to Stadium management practices all over the world.

The argument of Elegbeleye who described the shops project construction as legal , having been wrongly approved by NSC but abnormal, being against stadium management practices across the world , did not go down well with the committee members.

One of them , Senator Abdulkadir Jajere said since the project was contrary to stadium management practices worldwide, it cannot be said to be legal in any sense.

But the Chairman of the committee, Senator Adamu Gumba ruled that the committee should have a close session with the sports administrators over the matter.


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