Super Eagles have been ordered to win next year’s Africa Cup of Nations even if it means that Coach Stephen Keshi is fired to achieve this.
Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, put down the ultimatum.
MTNFootball.com exclusively gathered that Abdullahi invited top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Friday and read the riot act, insisting that everything be done for the Eagles to win at South Africa 2013 even if it means sacking the current coach Stephen Keshi would guarantee this success.
“The Minister ordered that everything be done to make sure Nigeria are champions at the next AFCON in South Africa,” a top source said at the weekend.
“He went as far as saying that if they need to do away with the present coach of the team to ensure this, then they should go ahead and do so.”
The source added: “It was a very serious meeting and the minister was very clear and direct about what he expects from the NFF.”
President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed huge disappointment with the country’s performance at the London Olympics and demanded for drastic changes in the sports ministry.
Nigeria last won the Nations Cup 18 years ago and they face Liberia in a final eliminator for a place at next year’s tournament beginning on September 8 in Monrovia.
The Eagles, African champions in 1980 and 1994, failed to qualify for the 2012 AFCON in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea leading to the dismissal of Coach Samson Siasia.
Keshi, who has a four-year contract and has been given a semi-final target at the AFCON, has done the minimum to get the team to the final round of the qualifiers for the 2013 edition of the tournament.
However, there are still some reservations as regards his insistence on working mostly with players from the Nigeria Premier League ahead of their Europe-based colleagues.