Nigeria’s Stephen Keshi demands $5 million in compensation for ‘wrongful sacking’
Just when it appeared that the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) might be set for a new phase of relative stability with Sunday Oliseh appointed the new head coach of the senior male national team, the bubble seems to have been burst by recently sacked Super Eagles manager, Stephen Keshi.
Keshi, 53, was sacked just three months into a new two year deal as the manager. He allegedly breached his contract with the Super Eagles by applying for the job of national team coach of the Ivorian football team. However, in defiance of the reasons provided by the Nigerian Football Federation, Stephen Keshi has demanded a compensation package of $5 million from the Nigeria Football Federation.
At the time he was fired, a statement from the NFF Executive Committee said the decision to relieve Keshi of his duties was made, “having thoroughly reviewed the reports/findings of the NFF Disciplinary Committee and NFF Technical and Development Committee, as well as having reviewed the actions and inactions of Mr. Stephen Keshi, in the performance of his duties as Super Eagles’ Head Coach, which we found to lack the required commitment to achieve the Federation’s objectives as set out in the Coach’s employment contract.”
Keshi’s dismissal apparently ended a tumultuous spell at the helm of affairs with the national team as the manager had endured a love-hate relationship with the NFF over the course of his career as Super Eagles manager. Upon winning Nigeria’s first African Nations Cup title in 19 years in 2013, Keshi swiftly announced his resignation and only withdrew it after what appeared to be persuasion from the Presidency. Again, after leading Nigeria to the second round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Keshi and the NFF failed to reach an agreement to extend his contract until March, 2015. Finally, after rumours emerged that Keshi had applied for another job on the continent while under contract with Nigeria, the NFF decided to fire him. But rather than go quietly, Keshi’s lawyers have contacted the NFF demanding compensation on the basis that the body defamed Keshi and soiled his reputation.
Keshi’s actions, should they evolve into a lawsuit, will see him become the second manager to seek redress or compensation after dismissal by the NFF as five years ago, Samson Siasia issued a lawsuit against the NFF after his sacking only to withdraw it later.
Keshi has since been replaced by Sunday Oliseh who many deem to be a more professional fit for the job given his impressive pursuit for self-improvement even after retirement from active football.
All may have been set for Nigerian football to move on with Sunday Oliseh but to take that step forward, the NFF may have to take a step back to permanently resolve the Stephen Keshi debacle once and for all.
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