By Tunde Sulaiman
Unconfirmed reports available to THISDAY Tuesday morning indicate that Stephen Keshi has decided to stay on as Super Eagles coach after withdrawn his resignation letter.
A terse statement sent to THISDAY Tuesday morning by the Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) media officer, Ademola Olajire and reportedly signed by Stephen Keshi reads thus: “My attention has been drawn to reports in the media that I have resigned my appointment as the Head Coach of Super Eagles of Nigeria.
“While I have had cause to express my displeasure over some issues that happened in the course of our participation in the AFCON 2013, which my team won by the grace of God, especially concerning my relationship with the Nigerian Football Federation, I have since had opportunity to discuss the various issues with all concerned. I am therefore pleased to say that I have reconsidered my position and have decided to continue with my job.
“I want to thank the Honourable Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, for his swift and kind intervention.”
It was obvious that in the wake of Keshi’s epic victory on Sunday, which ended Nigeria’s 19-year wait for the African title, there was no way he would be allowed to go without government pulling out all the stops to keep him.
It was reliably learnt that as soon as world reached Abuja of Keshi’s decision, the Presidency immediately swung into action instructing the Sports Minister, who is on ground with the team in South Africa, to convey in the strongest terms to the coach of government’s wish that he stayed on.
Apparently from the press statement, Abdullahi was able to convince the former national team skipper to have a rethink.
Meanwhile, THISDAY learnt that the Super Eagles departed the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg at 8.45am Nigerian time (9.45 South African time) for the six-hour flight to Abuja where the Presidency is planning a huge reception for them.