The House of Representatives has called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to ensure the timely payment of salaries of coaches of the nation’s football teams, and that of players. The lawmakers said following reports that the two former coaches who died recently, Mr. Stephen Keshi and Mr. Amodu Shaibu were being owed salaries.
The House also held a minute of silence in honour of both men who died last week. Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (Abia PDP) however lamented that both men were not honoured by the country when they were alive.
“Why do we prefer to honour people when they are dead? It is on record that Shaibu, together with Keshi, were being owed salaries,” she noted with sadness.
Hon. Phillip Shuaibu (Edo PDP) called on the NFF to retire the ‘No.4’ jersey worn by Keshi when he played for the country as a mark of respect to the late coach.
The lawmaker harped on the need for rehabilitation of the country’s medical facilities in line with international standards, to avoid unnecessary deaths. “Keshi had a ticket, he was supposed to travel that day for medical checkup. Unfortunately, he died before he could do that,” Shuaibu recalled.
Similarly, former Abia State Governor, Senator Theodore Orji, recalled that Nigerian football witnessed tremendous growth because the late Keshi took bold steps to break new frontiers.
In his tribute to Keshi, Orji noted that the former Eagles captain’s foray into professional football outside the shores of the country impacted positively to the growth of the beautiful game in Nigeria
“He was daring in following an uncharted course because he believed in what he could do,” Orji said, adding that after Keshi took the bold initiative football talents from Nigeria are now making decent living in football clubs across the globe thereby ranking Nigeria among the top exporters of footballers.
According to the senator representing Abia Central, Keshi will forever remain the face of Nigerian football given his pioneering role in professional football and his achievements as national and international coach of good repute.
“I am yet to come to terms with the news that the coach is no more. He remains one of the very few Nigerians in the football world to have brought respect to this nation,” he said.
Senator Orji said that football administrators and even political leaders have a lot to learn from the late football icon because “as a coach he was not given to passing the buck (and) and readily accepted mistakes and made room for corrections”.
Meanwhile, the family of late Shaibu announced yesterday that the Eighth Day Fidau prayer for the departed technical director of the NFF will hold on Saturday, June 18, 2016, at his Lagos residence on 41B, Adegoke Street, off Alhaji Masha, Surulere. According to a member of the Funeral Committee for the late coach, Dapo Sotuminu, the fidau for the repose of Amodu’s soul has been scheduled for 10am with top Muslim clerics listed to lead prayers.