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Why Stephen Keshi may not return as Nigeria coach

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There are strong indications that Stephen Keshi may not return to the Nigeria coaching job if his demands are not trimmed to fit into the financial reality of the Nigeria Football Federation.

The 52-year-old is seeking for an improved contract before signing back to lead the Super Eagles to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.

Having earned 5million Naira a month in his previous spell in charge, the former national team captain has requested for a new pay structure where he wants between 10-15m Naira per month.

However, as revealed by Goal last week, the NFF has said it does not have the means to pay the coach more than the 5m Naira that he was paid previously. If they could reduce it further, they would.

Goal has now learnt that the NFF is under increasing pressure from the Sports ministry to cut its spending going into the new year. This will adversely affect the amount of money the NFF is able to spend on competitions and coaches at all levels.

With the increasing profile of other sports like athletics, weightlifting and wrestling where Nigeria picked up important medals at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Sports ministry is looking to concentrate on more than just football.

As preparations increase towards the next Olympic Games in Rio, it is perceived that the Sports ministry and National Sports Commission will look to put more money in sports where the country has opportunity to win medals.

The thinking is that while male football provides just one medal, wrestling, weightlifting, power lifting and athletics will provide better opportunities for Nigeria to make a good showing in Brazil.

Hence, the funding for football in 2015 and beyond will become static. Therefore, there would be no justification for paying Keshi much more than he is already taking, even where it is owed sometimes.

The NFF is also going to find it difficult to raise more money from major sponsors GLO, Guinness and TomTom as they have refused to increase their financial standings due to the allegations of corruption flying around.

Perhaps the falling out with kit manufacturer adidas will bring about a better contract with the other major sportswear companies. This is yet to be seen.

While President Goodluck Jonathan is a keen admirer of Keshi’s work and has told the NFF to keep him by all means, the president rarely uses overwhelming influence to get things done and wouldn’t do it right now since he understands the limited finances of the sports ministry and the Glass House.

The only option that could see Keshi receive between 10-15m Naira for his new contract is if President Jonathan decides to pay the coach directly from the coffers of the Presidency.

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