Stephen Keshi speaks from the grave

Late Stephen Keshi – I love Nigeria. I love Super Eagles. I love the green and white colours of my country. I love the fans. I love football. God blessed me with another AFCON trophy as a coach in South Africa 2013 (after I won that of 94 as a player).

“When I was a player, you called me all sorts of names.  You said, I was arrogant, cocky and pompous. You set up coaches against me. You did everything possible to keep me out of the national team but my God-given talent kept propelling me even over your plots.

“Are you people not tired of pursuing me? Even after I was gone out of your sight? But funny a thing,  you cannot come to me where I am presently, at least not at the moment otherwise, you would have rushed to this place to even kill me again….or report me to the angels or to my maker, who already knows your mindset and intension towards me.

“You said, I formed a cabal in the national team and always attempted to hold the Federation hostage or to ransom. But you failed to speak about how and why the players allowances and bonuses were not paid as at when due and how the men at the top of sports and football fed fat on players’ money.

“Each time, I spoke for the players, you branded me HEAD OF THE CABAL. It was from here that the players who I always spoke for decided to show me love and respect. They changed the tag HEAD OF CABAL to BIG BOSS.

“Some of you hated that name BIG BOSS just as you hated me with passion.  You preferred the administrators squandering players hard earned money to the players fighting for their entitlement.

“Going to the World Cup in USA 94, you complained about my fitness and injury. You wanted me out of the team. But Clemens Westerhof had faith in me. He trusted me. He believed in my commitment and my relationship with the players which you were scared of.

“In your hearts, you prayed that I should not be part of the first team. Somehow, I got injured. You celebrated as if I was a player of another country or a group opponent of our team. The World Cup ended and we were all happy with the team’s overall performance.

“As a coach, you never believed in an indigenous coach. You worked against Shuaibu Amodu, Joe Erico and I. You didn’t want me around.

“God was on my side as I qualified Togo to the World Cup. The world applauded my little effort. God lifted me. The international media wrote a lot. I was called a prophet not honoured in his country. I was called the rejected stone which became the pillar of the corner. These good names angered you more.

“When I got to Mali, you prayed for my fall. You said my achievements in Togo were mere fluke. But God was with me. My record in Mali wasn’t a bad one.

“You invited me to take up Super Eagles job. I did just because I was passionate about my country. I needed to prove a point which was simply that we don’t need a foreign coach anymore since we have top quality coaches here like my brother Amodu who is by my side as I speak among others.

“It was God, otherwise, I wouldn’t have won that trophy. The tournament was on when my sack letter was being prepared. I was distracted in the middle of the tournament by news from the international media that I was to be sacked. Thanks be to God, I won the tournament as against your wish. Yet you were still,  angry with me for doing our country and our football proud.

“On return from South Africa, the move to frustrate me out of my job thickened. You frowned at the cash reward I received from Globacom. You wanted to have a share of it. You felt it was too much for me alone. Other gifts came from other bodies and groups.  They were personal gifts. But you tried to set me up with my telling them that the gifts were for me and them.  Thankfully, the groups and companies told you and the players clearly that they were for me.  The players also got theirs.

“I was owed salaries, bonuses and allowances that ran into millions of naira. You didn’t ask the authorities why I was not paid. You joined them to condemn me just because I requested for my entitlements.

“You came up with the story that I was speaking to other FAs in search of jobs through my agents. Your allegations were unfounded as there was no crime in seeking for a better offer or job.

“You eventually frustrated me out of my job. My entitlements were held. My wife died in the course of all these dramas. I equally followed her here. You treated my burial ceremony as if I didn’t serve my country honourably, diligently, loyally and with outstanding results.

You acted as if you were happy that I was gone. But you forgot that someday,  you will join me here and others living will equally speak about and against you

“Here I am far away from you, yet you won’t let me be. You won’t let me have peace. You have ganged up with some players to make spurious claims and allegations against me. You don’t fear God? You hated me even after I was gone?

“I leave you to your conscience. But I know someday, God will vindicate me. However, remember that you will join me here someday.  You won’t live forever!

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