Gombe – It was a mixed bag as some residents of Gombe reacted to the re-engagement of Stephen Keshi as Head Coach of the senior National team, the Super Eagles.
While some condemned his re-engagement, others welcomed it with a caution that he should not fail the nation again.
They warned that he should not populate the Eagles with players, particularly the foreign-based, who would not make the first team, now branded the “benchwarmers’’ .
Benchwarmers, in local parlance refer to those who would be invited only to end up seating out of the reserve bench because of the inability to make the first team.
Halilu Teli, the Gombe State chairman of the Sport Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) described the Keshi’s performance as head coach as a total failure.
Teli told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Thursday that he could have preferred a foreign coach, who would not be willing to allow interference from the NFA.
“To be sincere I do not see Keshi performing a magic because he failed in the past.
“Going by the recent football ranking in Africa, Nigeria dropped from 6th to 7th position,’’ he said.
According to him, a foreign coach will give his terms. There will be no sentiments in the selection of players.
“Most of the players he invites from abroad are `benchwarmers’, at their various clubs; favoritism will not take Nigeria anywhere,” he said.
Faruk Yarma, chairman Gombe State Sport Commission, however, said Keshi was a captain of the national team for long time and had done his best.
He said if they want him to achieve, Nigerians must exercise patience.
“Remember he assisted Amodu Shaibu in the past and even though there were complaints that he did not respect his employers,” he said.
Yarma suggested that the coach should be given free hand to perform better, while cautioning that the players should also be disciplined whenever available for national assignments.
“I am sure things will work well for a desired goal to be achieved,” he said.
The Chairman, Gombe Football Association, Auwal Umar said the re-engagement of Keshi was okay.
“I am sure failure will not be tolerated, if he did not perform, his contract should be terminated and a competent hand should replace him,’’ he said.
Tanimu Umar, an Assistant General Manager, Publicity, Gombe United FC said as far as he was concerned, Keshi remained the best indigenous coach.
“I am sure he will improve on the deteriorating performance of the team,” he said
Abubakar Maina, Board member nationwide football league commended NFA for re-engaging Keshi, saying: “the issue of continuity is paramount when you are talking of anything in life.
“Without continuity we cannot learn from our past mistakes. I must commend NFA for re-engaging him because he will continue from where he stopped. It is a good omen from the country’’. (NAN)