Taribo West has urged the Nigeria Football Federation to give the vacant Super Eagles job to caretaker coach Daniel Amokachi “if they no longer need Stephen Keshi”.
Keshi, who guided Nigeria to a second round exit at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, has been locked in a fierce battle with the NFF over the terms of the new contract offered him by the national football body.
The former Nigeria captain’s initial three-year contract expired after Brazil 2014, but the NFF, which was plunged into leadership crisis after the World Cup, asked him to lead the national team through the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers pending the conclusion of talks over a new contract for him.
But Keshi, who steered the Eagles to a third Africa Cup of Nations triumph in South Africa in 2013, failed to guide the team to the just-ended continental finals in Equatorial Guinea. After a series of poor performances in qualifiers, the Eagles squandered a gilt-edged opportunity to beat South Africa to seal their place in the tournament on final day. The Uyo encounter on November 19, 2014 ended in a 2-2 draw.
And the development sparked a fierce debate in the country over whether or not the former Togo manager should be given a new contract. However, the NFF reiterated during the week that they had offered the ex-Mali coach a new contract.
However, Keshi said he was not satisfied with the terms of the contract.
“From the clauses I have seen so far, I don’t know what words to use but the contract can be described as a ‘slave contract’,” AFP quoted Keshi as saying last week.
Following Keshi’s claims, former Nigeria defender Taribo believes the football house is no longer interested in his services, urging his ex-Eagles teammate to walk away.
Taribo said, “By the look of things, it appears the NFF is reluctant to give Keshi a new contract. I believe some people in the NFF don’t need him, hence they are doing everything to frustrate him.
“If I were Keshi, I would leave the job. The best option for him is to reject the contract and look for a job elsewhere.
“He shouldn’t allow people destroy his reputation because of Eagles job. For integrity’s sake, he shouldn’t take the job.”
The Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games gold medallist added, “If they (NFF) no longer need Keshi, they should consider Amokachi for the job.
“Amokachi is capable of replacing Keshi. He should be appointed immediately to enable the national team to begin preparation for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
“Amokachi is a good coach. He should be given a chance to manage the Eagles if the NFF feel Keshi is no longer suitable for the job.
“But, I think Keshi deserves to remain, because he has performed. The greatest problem of Nigerians is that they forget too easily.
“The national team failed to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations (in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea) and many Nigerians abandoned the team.
“The same Keshi, who is being criticised by many Nigerians won the Africa Cup of Nations (South Africa 2013) and made it possible for us to play at the World Cup.
“I think he should leave the job because it’s clear that the NFF don’t want him. If he decides to take the job, they will frustrate his efforts. He should go.”
Taribo, who represented Nigeria at the France ’98 and Korea/Japan 2002 World Cups, dismissed calls for the NFF to engage the services of a foreign coach for the Eagles, saying “we have good coaches in the country”.
“We don’t need a foreign coach for the national team,” the former Inter Milan and AC Milan strongman said.
“Foreign coaches are not better than our coaches. Why are we talking about having a foreign coach for the Eagles when we have ex-internationals who are coaches? We have good coaches in the country.”
Former Everton forward Amokachi has been an assistant manager to Keshi. He was in the dugout with his ex-Eagles teammate when Nigeria won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and reached the second round of Brazil 2014.
Amokachi, who won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia and played at the USA ’94 World Cup alongside Keshi, has also assisted Austin Eguavoen and Sweden coach Lars Lagerback at the Eagles.