Keshi won’t demand for bribe, says Erico
Former Super Eagles Assistant Coach, Joseph Erico, has expressed trust and confidence in the late Stephen Keshi’s reign as the coach of Nigeria’s senior national team. He was reacting to a recent statement by former International, Chinedu Obasi that there was a demand for bribe, which he refused to give.
Obasi had alleged in a media report (not The Guardian) that his refusal to pay bribe demanded by some officials denied him a place in the team to Brazil 2014 World Cup, which the Sports and Youth Development Minister, Sunday Dare, has pledged to look into it.
Speaking to The Guardian during the week, Erico said he was not sure such a thing happened under Keshi, but stated that he wouldn’t whether such happens in the country’s football.
“I have been following the trend of the bribery demand allegation of Brazil 2014 World Cup when Keshi was the chief coach of the team. But I don’t really think it would be possible under Keshi.”
While saying that agents are the nightmare of coaches in the country, he noted, “what I know is that some friends go about flexing their muscles, claiming that they are very close to the coaches. They promise players access to the national team camp if they could bring some amount.”
He added that some of these friends do this without the coaches’ knowledge.
“These agents will negotiate with players without the knowledge of the coaches. They will collect money from these players and begin to put pressure on the coach. Even top officials in the country do the same thing.
“And the poor coach will say okay, let’s see how it goes by bringing these players into the team and eventually when they are unable to meet up with the standard the coach demands, they will be sent packing from the camp. Coaches sometimes also are always under pressure from the management, the fans, friends, and family members. But it takes a very strong coach to say please allow me do my job,” he said.
The former Eagles’ number goalkeeper, added, “I remember when I was on board, I had the same problem too even from the top government functionaries. I will not say whether it’s true or it is a lie, I mean the case of bribery demand in the Nigerian football, but if you talk about another coach I do not know, for Keshi, he is a person I believe can never, ever do that.
“Keshi passed through my tutelage and I never collected one kobo from any player. And he himself is not use to that. Keshi passed through me right from the secondary school to when he became an international; it’s like an upbringing,” he stated, adding, “a child who lives in bribery knows what it takes to take a bribe.
An honest child does what it takes to be honest. Keshi’s own fault might have been through his friends who are also agents,” he stated.