Nigerians woke up on Thursday morning to hear that Stephen Keshi has lost his job as Super Eagles’ gaffer.
After about three years in the Super Eagles hot seat, the African Nations Cup winning coach was sacked by the Nigeria Football Federation in the early hours of Thursday, few hours after his troop defeated the visiting Sudanese national 3-1 to revive their AFCON qualifying campaign.
Stephen Keshi’s sack has been on the horizon for sometime, particularly after his team lame display in the AFCON qualifiers against Congo and South African in September. However, the former Eagles’ captain fate was sealed after the reigning African champions lost to the unfancied East Africans in Khartoum last weekend.
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Where did it go wrong for the 2013 African coach of the year, barely 20 months after leading Nigeria to its third AFCON triumph in South Africa?
Several factors have been adduced for Keshi’s failure to retain his job as Super Eagles coach. But the four key factors are highlighted here:
Keshi’s team selection has drawn flaks from soccer lovers, sports writers, coaches, administrators, and former players throughout his stint in charge of the team.
His exclusion of Ikechukwu Uche, Osaze Odemwingie, Lukman Haruna and other key players attracted condemnation from several quarters before, during and after the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The inclusion of average or unfit players drawn from obscure leagues in Europe and other parts of the world in Super Eagles squad for Brazil 2014 prompted many to call for his sack after Nigeria crashed out to France in the round of 16 encounter in Belo Horizonte in July.
Many faulted his criteria for selecting players into the Nigerian national team, alleging that he invited players into the Super Eagles for pecuniary gains.
Much has been said about the now former Super Eagles coach technical competence. Throughout his time in time charge, Keshi flirted with different formations ranging from 4-3-3, 4-4-2 and 3-5-2 with the former bringing more success than the latter two.
Many even questioned the gaffer’s ability to change match direction when his team meets quality oppositions or face a back to the wall situation during matches. They attributed his team AFCON conquest to luck or divine intervention considering the fact that Super Eagles started the competition with two draws against plucky oppositions in the shape of Burkina Faso and Zambia.