Former Nigeria midfielder, Etim Esin, has backed Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, to be given an improved contract after he led the national team to a round of 16 performance at the Brazil 2014 World Cup.
Keshi said after the Eagles were sent packing from the World Cup after losing 2-1 to 1998 world champions France last week that his contract had expired with the Nigeria Football Federation and had not been offered a new one.
The former Togo and Mali manager has been linked with the vacant South African national team job but Esin believes his ex-Eagles’ teammate still has a lot to offer Nigeria.
Former Belgium-based midfielder Esin said “it will be shameful” if the country loses Keshi to another country.
He said that the coach, who guided Nigeria to glory at the South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and helped qualify the Eagles for the World Cup, should be given a better deal to continue managing the national team.
“Every coach needs an improved contract after doing well. They should keep him (Keshi); he is an indigenous coach, who has done so well and should be encouraged,” Esin, who represented Nigeria at the 1987 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Chile, told our correspondent on the telephone on Monday.
“We won’t be happy if a country like South Africa snatches him away from us. It will be shameful to lose Keshi to another country.
“If his contract has expired, they should renew it and give the coach a long-term contract because it will ensure there is continuity and our football will grow.”
Reports said former coaches of the national team, Shaibu Amodu and Samson Siasia along with Sunday Oliseh have been lined up for Keshi’s job but Esin says Keshi has a better record than the trio.
The former Iwuanyanwu Nationale star warned against the hiring of a foreign coach for the Eagles, saying it would discourage home-grown coaches.
He insisted that Keshi had performed better than the foreign coaches who managed the Eagles in the past and urged the NFF to renew his contract.
He added, “Who is a better replacement for Keshi? If we are going to recruit a foreign coach, we will have to use so much of taxpayers’ money to pay him in foreign currency. Keshi has done well for this country as a player and coach and we should appreciate him.”
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