Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, and captain of the team, Joseph Yobo, said monday that they were quitting the senior national team shortly after crashing out of the ongoing 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Nigeria lost in the round of 16 to 1998 champions, France 2-0, at the Estadio Nacional in the Brazilian capital city of Brasilia.
Vincent Enyeama, Osaze Odemwingie and other senior players are also considering their future with Eagles after the defeat at the World Cup.
Yobo, who scored an own goal on the day he marked his 100th appearance for Nigeria, said he had done his best in the 13 years he has played for the Super Eagles and that it was time for him to concentrate on club football.
“It is time for me to give other younger players a chance. I have done my best in the 13 years that I have played for Super Eagles. I want to concentrate on my club football after recovery from injuries that almost ended my career,” said Yobo, who however remained happy that he was leaving after playing again for Nigeria at the highest level of football.
Keshi, who expressed frustration that the Eagles lost to the Les Bleus in a game they deserved to win, insisted shortly after the match that he was quitting the Nigerian job because nobody had discussed contract renewal terms with him at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
“Up till this World Cup, nobody has called me to discuss the issue of renewing my contract. So I think it is time to move on. I have done my bit with Nigeria and I am only sad that I would have loved to take the boys to the next round or even the semi final of the World Cup here.
“We didn’t deserve to lose this game (against France). We made one mistake in the defence and paid for it with the first goal. For me, I don’t like to talk about referees but today’s officiating was clearly against my team.
“I think the mindless tackles that were inflicted on Onazi (Ogenyi) should have been punished with expulsion, yet, the referee, (Mark Geiger of USA), just gave a caution card. It was not good enough,” observed Keshi.
The former Togo and Mali gaffer said now that the World Cup was over for Nigeria, he was going to take a deserved rest with his family in America.
“I have not had a rest in the last three months. I am going to America to take a rest, stay with my family and thereafter, think of what to do with my coaching career,” said Keshi.
However, the Vice-President of NFF, Chief Mike Umeh, had earlier told THISDAY before the clash with the French team that Keshi deserved a contract renewal and that the board of the federation would meet with the ex-international to discuss new terms.
“Why not, Keshi deserves to get a new contract. I am not the president of the federation but I know that immediately after this competition, we are going to sit down to discuss the matter of a new contract with him.
“He has done very well for Nigeria, winning the Nations Cup and matching our best ever performance at the World Cup,” stressed Umeh.