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Stephen Keshi is Back as Super Eagles Head Coach! Signs New Contract

NAN

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Nigeria's coach Stephen Keshi carried by playersStephen Keshi on Tuesday in Abuja signed a new contract to lead the Super Eagles’ coaching crew for another two years.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the deal which is between Keshi and the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) will see Keshi reporting directly to the association’s Technical Department.

The contract is expected to last till 2017, but its renewal will depend on his achievement in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers and the tournament proper in Gabon.

Seyi Akinwunmi, NFA’s First Vice-Chairman who signed on behalf of the football body, said the signing of the contract would end the speculations over Keshi’s re-appointment.

He said Keshi’s assistants would be named in due course.

Akinwunmi who represented Amaju Pinnick, the NFA Chairman, also said the contract was expected to bring a new vision to the country’s football.

He further said the deal would bring about a new dawn, a new thinking and renewed hope to the Super Eagles.

The NFA board member said the team under the leadership of Keshi could not afford to fail Nigerians.

“This is a brief outline of our determination as the custodian of Nigerian football; a new thinking in the management of the Super Eagles and other national teams, as well as the appointment of coaches. With this, we can move forward for a common goal,’’ he said.

Akinwunmi said the resolve by both parties to work for a common goal was to avoid the repeat of the 2014 events when the country failed to qualify for the 2015 AFCON.

He however identified the crisis which engulfed the NFA after Sept. 30, 2014 board elections as the major factor which delayed the signing of Keshi’s contract after the board’s approval.

Akinwunmi also blamed the 2014 general elections for the delay in naming Keshi as the Super Eagles Head Coach.

“Over the past few months, there has been a lot of worry among Nigerian football fans over the fortunes of the Super Eagles, particularly as the team failed to qualify for the 2015 AFCON.There have also been a lot of speculations over the position of the chief coach of the Super Eagles, particularly as the contract of Keshi had expired in 2014. But the NFA board took its time to deliberate on the appointment of the chief coach for the Super Eagles for a number of reasons,’’ he said.

In his response, Keshi said he was lucky to be picked among 170 million Nigerians to coach the Super Eagles.

He pleaded for the co-operation of the NFA and the media to enable him take the team to greater heights, and thanked Pinnick for ensuring the deal came through.

“I also thank Nigerians everywhere, who still believe I have what it takes to take Nigerian football to the next level. But Keshi alone cannot do this job. It’s huge, and it’s going to be a collective effort. I know I will get 150 per cent support from the NFA and I also believe I will get 120 per cent support from the media for me to succeed.

If we team up together, stay together as one, the sky will be the limit for the Super Eagles. This is a new beginning for our football. We will give all we have to be up there. What happened in the past should be seen as the past,’’ Keshi said.

NAN recalls that Keshi’s previous contract ended after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where Nigeria crashed out in the second round after losing to France.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.

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