Keshi: South African interest seems to be waning in light of scandals under his watch

CC Sports Minute

Before the ongoing World Cup in Brazil, it was almost certain that former Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi would not come back to his job with the Nigeria Football Federation.

He walked taller because according to him, there were several tempting and juicy offers on his table to choose from and that of the South African Football Association, SAFA, was almost a certainty. 

The NFF on their part, were happy that his contract would also come to an end with the World Cup and had no intention of renewing it. 

They had taken so much from Keshi and this time, there would be no turning back.

As Nigerians watch the unfolding drama at the NFF and Nigerian football, we can reveal that Keshi's ''tempting offers" and the much talked about South African deal may not be after all. There are strong indications that the South African Football Association are on the verge of recruiting Iranian coach, Carlos Queiroz over Keshi and that might leave Keshi in limbo.

''Yeah, Keshi has always been in the books of SAFA as well as Queiroz", our South African source said yesterday insisting that the pendulum may have finally moved over to Queiroz after what he did with the Iranian team at the on-going World Cup in Brazil.

Iran considered a whipping team in the Group F that comprised South American giants, Argentina and African Champions Nigeria and Bosnia and Herzegovina turned out to be a thorn on the flesh of the teams with Nigeria scrapping a barren draw with them.

Queiroz a veteran and versatile coach had told the world in Brazil that Iranian football was a sleeping giant that was faced with the challenge of waking from this sleep.

And many people believed that the man who once assisted Alex Ferguson in Manchester United had done a good job to bring Iranian football to the front burner to the extent of challenging Argentina until a late goal from Argentine wizard Messi.

''Keshi was ahead of other coaches but the table has turned and Queiroz is the man of the moment", a source said.

Sources have intimated that issues of money and players' protests may not be unconnected with the sudden change of heart from South Africans who have been monitoring the chaos that saw players skip one training session in Brazil and threatened not to play France unless their appearance fee was paid even though FIFA had not yet disbursed the monies to the various Federations.

That made President Gooluck Ebele Jonathan to send Sports Minister Tammy Danagogo to bring money on a Presidential jet to Brazil before the Eagles played France. 

Nigeria also sent wrong signals to the world before the Confederations cup when the players, again under Keshi, threatened a no show if funds due to them were not paid. 

There are those who believe, based upon highly reputable feelers that the team officials (coaches) are indeed the ones stoking the fire through the players.

Overall, South African officials are said to be uncomfortable with Keshi's history of contentious relationships with players and FAs of other nations, namely Togo and Mali before his most recent stint with Nigeria, where the same pattern seemed to continue.

It remains to be seen where the former Nigeria captain ends up, but South Africa currently seems an unlikely destination.