The intervention of the Presidency in the reinstatement of Coach Stephen Keshi appears to be brewing disharmony in the Eagles camp. And the NFF is not better for it.
The new federation made some changes including the appointment of ex-international Garba Lawal as the team co-ordinator. Toyin Ibitoye of Channels was also appointed Media Officer of the Eagles.
But that has been annuled with the return of Stephen Keshi, the BIG BOSS. Now, Keshi has also asked that Garba Lawal be replaced. The two appointments were made by the federation which is now being overruled.
With the return of Keshi, all appointments made by NFF have been overturned as Keshi has brought back almost all his backroom staff, including media officer, Ben Alaiya.
“It clearly shows that Keshi is now more powerful than the NFF, his supposed employers,” a concerned NFF official, who pleaded anonymity said, yesterday.
Continuing, the official said, “although, a coach has the right to appoint his technical assistants, in Nigeria, appointment of other backroom staff like team coordinator, media officer is the duty of the NFF.”
It was gathered that apart from Toyin Ibitoye who was eased out of his new office without notice by Keshi, the former Hawks of Togo coach is also bent on seeing Garba Lawal out of Eagles camp. It was yet to be confirmed whether Lawal travelled with the team to Uyo.
Lawal was Keshi’s biggest critic after the coach led the Eagles to a poor start to the 2015 Afcon qualifiers.
“Keshi is not the type to hold a grudge but I can tell you he wants Garba Lawal out,” a source said.
“He is not asking for Emmanuel Attah to be re-appointed just anybody, not Garba Lawal who devoted all of his time working against Keshi.”
The source accepted that Lawal is entitled to his opinion, but went too far with his criticism of Keshi the head of the team he is expected to coordinate.
“It’s accepted he has a right to his opinion but his latest statement on a team he is to coordinate prove he is going to be an unwanted influence,” added the source.
“The team coordinator job is for someone who believes in the team not one of a divisive opinion.”
Lawal was credited as saying he doesn’t care about Keshi returning as coach and said he has no regret
leading calls for his sack earlier.
However, there are moves to reconcile both men by a top official in the Nigeria Football circle who was instrumental to the appointment of Garba Lawal as Super Eagles coordinator.