If I were Stephen Keshi …An “unappreciated” Brand – KRAZY MARY
June 2014: As I sit in the first class cabin sipping my odeku on the flight from Brazil, I cannot help but thank God for my life. I have been very blessed. Imagine…I have scored so many firsts in my life. The first Nigerian to win the African Cup of Nations as player and as a coach. The first coach to qualify Togo for the world cup, even when oyibo coaches had failed. And now I am the first Nigerian coach to take the Super Eagles to the quarter finals of the world cup. But my problem is that these b..stards at the glass house do not appreciate me; and even some of the players think they are the stars and therefore do not bow and tremble before me. Anyway, I shall show all of them. I am not called “Big Boss” for nothing.
Anyway, I have already put my spin doctors in the media at work. Yes, that South Africa has offered me a contract. Yes that Keshi will not be renewing his contract with Nigeria. Yes that countries are fighting like hell to lure me to come and give the Keshi magic to their national football teams. Yes, it worked during the 2013 AFCON; why should it not work now. I beg make presido call me by himself, dis one don pass minister begging. Don’t they know that Keshi is God’s gift to Nigerian football. I beg, these guys no try at all O! upon all dat dem go come dey owe me my pay and allawee. What is their business if Adenuga and Dangote give me mega millions and cars as gifts. Is that one my salary? Why must I share my roger with them?
In fact, this time I will increase my demand. It’s N10 million or nothing. Wetin, is it because I am not an Oyibo? These guys just have to respect me. How will these over-paid premiership naija players respect me if I don’t earn a decent salary? Mmm Ikechukwu Uche, Osaze Odemwingie…una go hear wheen!
September 6, 2014: I lay looking at the ceiling in my room. By the bedside are 3 condemned bottles of Odeku. This is a bad start. No no, this is a terrible start. Chaiii! This is the first time I am not in my regular joint after a match in the beautiful city of Calabar. I don’t even have appetite for my favourite afang soup and the other mende mendes that only Calabar can boast of. Chai! I have broken a bad record this time. This is the first time that Nigeria is losing a competitive home game in the past 33 years! See as Congo come dismantle me for inside my own house. Imagine small Congo beating the almighty Super Eagles 3-2. What will now happen to my N10 milla, what will happen to my contract renewal? Those hawks in NFF will now have me for supper. Na wa O!
Well, if I were Steven Okechukwu Keshi, I shall do a soul-searching. I shall wonder why I always have to depart from my teams in a storm. I shall wonder why everywhere I go, there always seems to be personal issues between me and my players. I would recall that a personal issue between Emmanuel Adebayor and myself resulted in me being dropped after I qualified that country to its first and only world cup appearance…(those a..holes). If I were Keshi, I shall realize that players make teams and therefore, I shall bury my ego, marketing objectives and sentiments when I am selecting my players. I shall know that a player’s failure is my failure and as such take responsibility for the failure of any player and not single him out for his failure as I did with my world cup diatribe of “Osaze did not play to instruction”.
In the same vein, I shall realize that no employer likes to be told repeatedly that other employers are ‘begging’ to snatch their employee. If I were Stephen Keshi, I shall realize that thunder does not strike twice in the same place, so I would have thought twice before embarking on my usual arrangee resignation after the 2014 world cup and start pressing buttons at the right places to keep my Super Eagles coaching job. I would do this knowing that “north, south, east or west, home is always best.” I would have known that the typical Naija people do not appreciate it when someone, no matter how good he is, continues to do too much shakara to them. Besides, I would have known that this my job has removed pepper from the mouth of the cabal at NFF and that until they see my back and bring the almighty foreign coach they will not relent in making life difficult for me.
If I were Keshi, I would have done what an oyibo man would have done; which to say goodbye when the ovation was loudest. I would do this knowing that there is no way I was going to thrive when my employers have too many issues with me. In particular, I would never have cheapened myself by continuing to work as coach of the super Eagles without a contract; an oyibo man would never do that. I would therefore have diligently sought and got another job as only a fool will not be a able to see the hand-writing on the wall that I would not be given another contract.
Today: If I were Stephen Keshi, I would be saying “had I known…” as I shake my head and gulp the last glass of my odeku.