Enyeama 'shocked' by timing of coach Keshi's removal

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport, Lagos
Stephen Keshi and Vincent Enyeama
Stephen Keshi and Vincent Enyeama

Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama expressed his surprise that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) decided to replace coach Stephen Keshi barely a month before the side's final two African Nations Cup qualifiers.

The decision to install Shaibu Amodu came only hours after Keshi led Nigeria to a 3-1 win against Sudan to revive their campaign to reach Morocco.

"It's a big shock that things have taken this turn, particularly with two big games coming up next month," Nigeria captain Enyeama told BBC Sport.

"But the authority [the NFF] who took this decision they know exactly what they are doing, they call the shots.

"As a manager you get hired and you get fired. We all saw it coming [with the results and reaction of the fans], but we are going to work with the new man in charge.

"It's rather a pity. We just wish coach Keshi a very good life, success in his career and greatness in the future. "

Keshi, who was without a contract for the recent Cup of Nations qualifiers, had enjoyed past success with the team.

During his time in charge he led Nigeria to their first Africa Cup of Nations title since 1994 when they won the trophy in South Africa last year.

He became only the second man to lift the trophy as a player and as a coach after Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary.

His success continued in Brazil when Nigeria made into the second round of the World Cup, before losing 2-0 to France.

But Keshi has paid the price for the country's disappointing home defeat by Congo, an away draw with South Africa and shock defeat to Sudan in qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Amodu has been appointed caretaker manager following Keshi's departure and Enyeama is sure that the 56-year-old, who returns to the helm for a fifth time will give his all.

"I have worked with him before [between 2008 and 2010] and I'd like to wish him all the very best," Enyeama added.

"I know him very well from the last time. I know he shares the same passion and determination like the players to win our next two crucial matches.

"The players know what is expected of them to make it to Morocco because we have two cup finals against Congo and South Africa."

Amodu, Salisu Yusuf, Gbenga Ogunbote and Aloysius Agu will be in charge for next month's final two qualifiers -- away at Congo and home to South Africa -- but will then be replaced by an overseas coach, the NFF have confirmed.

Nigeria are third in Group A with four points. South Africa are top with eight points, just one above Congo, while Sudan are bottom on three points.