Sports Minister Bolaji Abdulahi
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi yesterday held the clear the air meeting with Sports Minister Bolaji Abdulahi on his future with the national team.
The Sports Minister was recently reported to have ordered the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to get rid of Keshi if Nigeria failed to win the Africa Cup of Nations which holds next year in South Africa.
But Abdulahi, during a chat with reporters, poured cold water on the reports ascribed to him, describing it as “a bold lie”.
“Keshi is at the moment holding talks with me in my office. I never at any point gave that order (to sack Keshi) to NFF.
The heat generated by the report had similarly prompted the football federation to issue a rebuttal that it got the controversial order from the minister during their meeting, that the national coach be sacked in the event of the failure of the Eagles to clinch the continental silverware next year.
Before aiming to win the Nations Cup, Nigeria which failed to berth the last tournament at Gabon /Equatorial Guinea 2012, must overrun Liberia in the final knock out qualifying matches in September and October.
Keshi had on Wednesday told reporters that he was unfazed by the orders purportedly emanating from the office of the Minister on his future. He said a sack would not be a big deal as he would not be the first Super Eagles coach to be relieved of his appointment.
The meeting with Abdulahi was aimed at bringing stability to the national team ahead of the important fixture in Monrovia on September 8, as well as helping to find a common ground between Keshi and the NFF Technical Committee over the list of players to be drawn for the match.
Keshi is understood to be pricked by the plan of the committee to impose certain foreign-based players on him for the match against the Lone Star.
Although a release from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Thursday, indicated that the names of the foreign-based players to be invited for the match will be made public on Saturday.