KESHI’S ABSENCE WON’T AFFECT EAGLES – TEAM’S SPOKESMAN
Officials of Super Eagles are emphatic in their belief that the absence of Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi, will not in anyway derail the team's preparations for the two friendly games billed for this month.
Last week, Keshi had to take a short vacation from his busy schedule to visit his family in the US barely two weeks to the friendly games planned against the Pharaohs of Egypt in Doha and the Iranian national team in Tehran.
In his absence, his assistants, Daniel Amokachi and Sylvanus Okpala have taken charge of the team, which will resume camping tomorrow in Abuja ahead of the upcoming friendly matches.
However, the issue of whether or not Keshi's timing for his trip was proper has been waved aside as unnecessary by the Eagles' Media Officer, Ben Alaiya, who revealed that there was no better time for the Big Boss to see his family than now.
Alaiya contended that the tight programme of the national team between April and July, meant that Keshi would not have another chance to attend to urgent family issues till later in the year, hence his decision to make the trip last week.
'There is absolutely nothing wrong with the timing of his (Keshi's) trip to the US. Yes, we know that the task of rebuilding the senior national team is challenging, but we must equally realise that the family is a very important aspect of our life and proper attention must be paid to it,' the team's spokesman began in a telephone chat with Sunday Sunsports.
Besides, Alaiya declared that Keshi has implicit confidence in his assistants, who he believed could groom the players ahead of the friendly games in two weeks time. 'Don't forget that it was Keshi that chose his assistants and he has sufficient trust in them to deliver the goods at a time like this when he has to attend to other pressing issues. Amokachi and Okpala are top quality coaches who have been working with home-based players for quite a while.'
While disclosing that Keshi would later join the team in Doha, Qatar, on April 8 ahead of the friendly game with the Pharaohs of Egypt, Alaiya admitted that the technical crew would be sticking to its original plan of using an entirely home-based team to prosecute the two friendly games. He added that the foreign-based players would be invited for the Nations Cup and World Cup qualifiers later in June.
'It might interest you to know that the Egyptians requested to play our home-based players alone, but the Iranian FA did not specify whether it would prefer the home or foreign-based team. 'But we don't have any option than to use the same team to execute both friendly games since the game against Iran is not on a FIFA free day and therefore, it would not be possible for us to secure the release of our foreign-based players from their respective clubs when the game would be played.'