What Stephen Keshi needs to understand,Urgently!

keshiStephen Keshi is a good coach. But one quality that successful and long lasting coaches have, is that they have always had a nose to differentiate constructive criticisms from destructive ones and act on them even if they do not agree in public!

Ever since our nation triumphed at the 2013 African Cup Of Nations (AFCON) our super eagles have been struggling,relatively, and has failed to consolidate on this landmark success due to the fact that we do not have continuity and there has been this obsession to experiment and overpopulate the team with more Home grown players. Analysts all had problems naming incoming players at the Confederations  cup for example.

Ever since I expressed my personal disagreement at the huge number of Local based players that represented Nigeria at the just concluded Confederations cup, on Supersport, thousands have clearly stated their understanding and agreement  of the point of view just as some, our super Eagles Nations cup winning coach, Stephen Keshi included, have disagreed and made some regrettable comments. this I feel is quite unfortunate and personal.

The basis behind my comments (which were shared by every other consultant at the Supersport panel) were to help and bring attention to the fact that we needed to urgently improve our local league to maintain our new status and  gradually add new home based in the mix in other not to burn the ends.

 As we speak, I have discussed with Mr Nduka Irabor (Chairman of the N. Pro League) on how I can help them through my position and know how to improve our league standard so it can be productive again. Who knows we might just get it back on track after all.

                           What Is So Special About Foreign Based Players?

If you are a Foreign based pro. it is not because these foreign clubs want to do you a favour, it is because you are one of the best from your country, simple. By gradually trying to wage a war against these players who ply their trade week in week out at the highest level leagues in the world we are turning our back to our best  and waging a war against ourselves, they are Nigerians too I must remind !

They should not be cast away just because our technical crew lack the skills to manage them at the detriment of Nigeria.

Ever asked why The out flux of Nigerian home based to Europe has reduced drastically in recent years? It is because the Europeans for example after several scouting visits to our local league games find the tempo and standard quite low, not credible and with the crisis in the world have little time to wait for years work to upgrade these players, otherwise Sunday Mba, who I find quite solid & talented should have been bought immediately after the AFCON!

The unbalanced flooding of home based is a strategy that can work at the AFCON level etc but at the world stage, we will play well but lose, like we used to do in the 80’s & 90’s prior to 1994 and now did at the Confederations cup!

Unless this trend is done for other personal reasons outside that of the direct interest of the nation which we are not aware of!

                                       My Take

My belief  is not that we should not use home based players, far from it, if Sunday Mba was not at the Nations cup in 2013 for Nigeria I do not think we might have won it, at least like we did. He however was well surrounded by Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emeneke etc and made his contributions productive and easier. We saw how this poor boy struggled at the Confed. cup just  4 months after doing us proud in South Africa!  Oboabona is one of my favourites and with some more polishing would go places internationally!

                     The Speed Of World Level Soccer,Today

The Confederations cup was of a higher level than the AFCON: high level tactics, Advanced Coaching, speed of execution and result orientation was on display and the world cup next year will be even at a faster pace. That am sorry is why I feel a gradual introduction of home based players, shouldered and protected by experience should have been the case, cause the scenarios for them to play at this level are absent at the moment!

I believe you noticed how at ease Obi Mikel was Vs Spain or Uruguay, the man is used to these kind of players and their level, simple !

Players are not Made at The National teams but by the clubs and leagues so improving our league standard should be the priority!

   Why National Coaches are called Managers, Technical Advisers & not a full coach .

National team coaches are called Managers because they are not supposed to form players due to the short time they have to work with them, but they are supposed to be good at selecting  like or complementary players, mix them up to produce results.

When mighty France of 1998 won the World cup and the Euros 2000 they had few players from the then solid French league but mainly from the then better Italian league that was at its best.

Our priority should be improving our league and the use of the CAF Home based Nations cup to get experience for the home based will be wise!

           Stephen Keshi’s Job Is The Last Thing I Want!

I can understand that Keshi feels threatened by the possibility of a sack and back stabbing, but my comments  should not be seen as coming from a possible successor unless one is desperate, which  I thank God I am not!

His job is the last thing that I or my family need. I know the custom lately amongst some of the coaching crew in our dear country has been attacking the incumbent to take his place, but I believe I have proven over and over again that my consultancy company and my life that I have spent 23 years to build in Europe which I cherish dearly is more precious to me than the day to day stress that comes with Being the Super Eagles coach!

I wonder how I will continue to run my 6 year old consultancy business that has now gone global, coach my youth team, fulfil my new but cherished introduction into FIFA with the Super Eagles Coaching  job 6000 kilometres away from my family!

I have said this uncountable times, although I love my country it is not in my wildest dreams to manage the super eagles otherwise I would have accepted the NFF Technical director job and eventually the super Eagles.

If he can accept our support and praise, he should accept our constructive critics in the interest of the country and making enemies left and right is not the way to go, obviously some of us do not learn from the past! The interest of Nigeria comes first than that of Sunday Oliseh or Stephen Keshi !

                        How should it have been?

As we saw with Brazil at the Confed. Cup, continuity makes a team grow. Ever since we won the Nations cup in February our team line-up has been unpredictable and full of constant changes. In a year leading to the world cup that should not be the case.

True we had injuries to key players but they had people on the bench for them at the Afcon who should have taken over the baton and continue with the spirit of the AFCON and new players invited to understudy.

     Nigeria is bigger than anyone and for the records sake in answer to Keshi’s erroneous declaration, I was 3 years as a pro in Belgium and a regular player in liege by 1993 when I got my first call up to the super Eagles and in those days our national league was ‘fire’, well organised, competitive, balanced and one of the best in Africa. That’s how Clemence Westerhoff and Bonfrere Jo succeeded!

It is unfortunate that Keshi sees enemies everywhere and maybe it is understandable but the interest of Nigeria’s progress is what we all should be seeking now and I believe making attacks like he is doing is not the right way to go about it, we are way too matured for that, at least I know I am!

Long Live Nigeria!

Feel free to follow us on Twitter @SundayOOliseh


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July 9, 2013 10:47 am Published by


  • Have Hope says:

    Yep, very well said again. I can’t argue with you. But all I can really say is…how good are the European based players? Apart from those at the AFCON like Brown and Emenike, Moses, Mikel and some others…..is Osazie still relevant dangerous? Can we say the same for Anichebe?
    I think you really do need to have a balance and I just feel that Moses is unfortunately are OUT AND OUT, OUR BEST PLAYER with Emenike our only striker and Mba the one bright prospect with Mikel being the experienced one. The talent is lacking…..but what about going EVEN younger?

  • Femi O says:

    Dear Sunday:

    To say your post was fantastic and well thought out is an understatement. I suppose it is a black man’s mentality to see every criticism as destructive. It is an evil that permeates the deepest echelons of our culture and one that is bound to limit our growth as a people.

    Nigeria’s performance at the Confed Cup was woeful and showed the lack of experience in the team that Mr Keshi took with him. By alienating the more experienced players in the team, on the global stage, we will be taught footballing lessons.

    What Keshi needs is to open his mind and heart to superior view and I dare say that your views are superior to his… you were a better player anyways!

  • Dapo says:

    Nice one oliseh, I share your view, consistency is needed in the national team

  • Esang Smart says:

    @Sunday, This is a rude truth. It takes only the bold minds to instruct us with the truth as @sunday just did. Consistency pays off (spain-xavi,sergio,iniesta,casillas etc, Uruguay-Lugano,Forlan,Suarez,Cavani etc,Italy,Brazil just name them. I love your finesse. I gues Keshi will get your Naira n kobo advise.Bravo @sundayoliseh

  • Joseph says:

    I have to say that Oliseh makes perfect sense. A leader needs to listen and take constructive criticisms such as this. We’ll see what Keshi does with this.

  • Steve says:

    Oliseh, I cannot but agree with you in its entirety your submission on the continous changes taking place in our super eagles line-up few months to the World Cup.
    The bitter truth which I know you are very also aware of but decided to be diplomatic about it is that Stephen Keshi is inviting most of these local players and giving then play time so as to expose them to the internationals scout for eventual sales where he will get his cut from their sign on fee.

    Keshi has stayed too long with Westerhof not to learn the act of selling players and getting cut off it. It’s unfortunate he’s going about this at the detriment of the nation but I can assure you that he will meet his Waterloo after a dismay performance of the team at the World Cup if only he is lucky enough before then to qualify the team for the world cup in the first place.

  • Akin Akintan says:

    Oliseh, much as I don’t think Keshi was right in his factually inaccurate response to you (e.g that he influenced your captainship – when in actual fact you became captain immediately after France ’98 under Thijs Libregts), I think your criticism of Keshi was in bad taste. Your words: “….they should not be cast away just because our technical crew lack the skills to manage them at the detriment of Nigeria”.
    I believe there are 2 broad types of players – good & bad. Our players, foreign & Nigeria-based, all fit into these classes. Besides, probably as important as the physical ability of a player is the mental & psychological conditioning of the player. Thus, even a good foreign-based player may not deliver for Nigeria even he isn’t mentally attuned to play. Keshi should just be allowed to pick players that can deliver – whether ‘local’ or ‘foreign’.

    • S.oliseh says:

      My point is simple,the best should play. If you are an home based and your productivity is better than a foreign based you should play. Am not interested in polemics outside the objectivity. The need to want to banish foreign based is not the reason people are being told. My article was only aimed at clarifying my stand and all other rantings out of football points do not interest me. Soon he will tell you he helped me play in Ajax,Dortmund and Juventus. Modesty and fear of God is gold
      Nigeria needs a better league and foreign based players simple

  • @ best ever holding midfielder in Super eagles history, you have said it all, if the NFF are reading this articles and have senses, they should put this into consideration and work more dynamic ways of improving the local league to develop the home base players so that they can be mentality and physically fit for big international tournaments.

    Also someone out there should talk some senses into the head of coach Keshi as well, cos he was n’t serious about the just concluded F.I.F.A tournament in Brazil, majority of the players he invited are not justifiable to wear the nation colors, he brought in players for his own selfish interest by exposing them at the tournament cos he knew quite well foreign scouts from tops clubs in Europe would be in Brazil and gladly majority of those players he was expecting good returns disappointed him and turn the nation to a laughing stock during the tournament in Brazil.

    Instead of Keshi to take corrections for his blunders, he is fighting the media and other critics, which would lead to his down falls if he continue cos the media is a very vitals organizations, (we all saw what they did to Mourihno at Real Madrid last season), as long as Keshi wanna start inviting players to Eagles camps on sentiment, eagles would continue to struggle and fail in any future matches.

  • Tee says:

    Fantastic, you couldnt have said it better . Unfortunately nigeria is full of ignorant people who can not read between the lines and see the very obvious truth like you ve done. Yes he needs to tell us why we did not go the the confed cup with a single credible striker when the likes of osaze, Ike Uche, Kalu Uche were exorcised from the team. Why haruna Lukman who is the only other creative midfielder who can complement Mikel obi is not in the team. Why all these exclusions for non football reasons. Is the super eagles a Stephen keshi fans club? Why must you bow down to him or be financially profitable to him to play for your country ? DEFINITELY WE NEED A TECHNICAL COMMITTEE COMPOSED OF CREDIBLE AND KNOWLEDGABLE NIGERIANS BEFORE WHOM HE HAS TO DEFEND HIS SQUAD LIST AND MAKE A JUSTIFICATION FOR EVERY INCLUSION AND OBVIOUS EXCLUSION.

  • Chucks Eke says:

    I enjoyed reading your analysis on Stephen Keshi but Sunday, do you realise that if Stephen Keshi listened to all the advisers and counsellors he would end up a faillure. Please let us leave Him alone to get this job done. The problem with our football is the local league. I was a great fan of Nigerian football back in the 80s when there was that great rivalry between Rangers and IICC, between Leventis and Abiola Babes, between.New Nigerian Bank and Bendel Insurance. Keshi was part of that generation he understands the nitty gritty of football. Men like you that have played the game at the highest level should do all within your power to bring back the good old days of Nigerian football, if that is not done the world cup Will elude Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

  • Oliseh Mike says:

    Sunday Oliseh, education with football is important, it shows that you have the level than Keshi simple….

    I think you have said it all, everyone reading your article should learn and be able to build your football understanding from your education. This is the height of a true Leader.

    You are my role model. I respect you.

    God bless you.

    Olishe name sake….

  • emma says:

    The Super eagles job was the last thing you wanted, but now, you’ve accepted to be the super Eagles coach

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