Stephen Keshi is the kind of man who says it as he sees it.
Highly controversial, unapologetic and certainly not one to shy away from a fight, Keshi, the most successful Nigerian coach ever, is the source of some of the most provocative, debatable and notorious quotes on himself and Nigerian football in general.
GoalDig compiles the largest collection of the hottest, most controversial Keshi quotes on the www.
“In my team, I think that Mikel is in good shape, with the wealth of experience he has, all his years in the Champions League, I think he’s very important for us in the team, and we just have to make the best of the situation.”
Nigeria national team coach Stephen Keshi obviously still believes that John Obi Mikel is a vital cog in the Super Eagles side, despite many fans’ call for the ineffective Chelsea midfielder to be axed from the Super Eagles.
“It’s a pity we lost. We did not deserve to lose. We can compete with any team. It was a good performance, but the way we lost was not good. There have been improvements, the players are very young and in two years, this group will be wonderful.”
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi lamenting the Super Eagles’ exit from the Brazil 2014 World Cup after their 2-0 loss to France.
“It’s football. Brazil lost 7-1 and we lost. Everybody is going to lose someday. We cannot win all the games all the time. To Nigerians, we say this kind of thing happens at times, this is football.’’
Keshi is disappointed but not shocked as Nigeria loses 3-2 to Congo in Africa Nations Cup qualifying match.
"I’m always criticized. Even if I win or draw, they will always criticize me. We don’t have the patience in my country. In every outing, they want to win at all cost. It does not make any difference when am criticized.”
Coming from a man who once claimed he came from a country where everybody was a coach, that’s not too much of a blast.
“Ikechukwu Uche is not a player I have not seen play. Ike Uche’s problem is not about not knowing how to play football. His problem is that he wants to dictate how we play in the Super Eagles; he wants to tell us that the system we’re playing is not good.”
Keshi finally lifts the lid on his pot of grievance with Uche.
“I was with Ike Uche in South Africa during the African Cup of Nations in South Africa. I have no personal grudge against him. He is a good player. But not all good players play for their national team. If you are not a team player, you can’t play for me.”
Keshi certainly can’t manage a player like Balotelli if Uche is too big a fish for his pan.
“Ike Uche was supposed to be part of the team that is presently in camp but he said we must beg him first to play for Nigeria.”
Coach Keshi gives reason why he continues to shut the door on the fans’ favourite and Villarreal CF star.
“Enyeama is my first-choice goalkeeper. He is a very reliable and fantastic player, who I adore a lot because of his loyalty to the national cause. I will miss him”
Stephen Keshi then highlights what he looks for in his ideal player, something which Ike Uche allegedly lacks.
“This is life and not everybody is going to like you. So who am I to worry about everybody loving or not liking Stephen Keshi? I don’t care as long as my family loves me, as long as I am doing my job and I have good health – the rest is nothing. As long as I can put smile on somebody’s face every day, make them happy, I can say thank God.”
Even Keshi knows that Keshi is not widely accepted.
“Talks over a new contract shouldn’t drag on. I can’t wait any more – the NFF is not serious. I have moved on. I can only wish the country well for the future.”
Not many employees will have the balls to tag their bosses as unserious but obviously Keshi has and he did.
“My previous contract was never respected. I was paying one of my assistants for over a year, my former assistant Sylvanus Okpala was sacked without my consent and those things just never made sense.”
Still bugged as to why Keshi is livid with his bosses in the Glass House? Read again.
“In Mali, they will never owe you. Your salary will hit your account before the end of every month. It was the same thing in Togo. Owing me up to seven months makes me feel I am not being appreciated. It is like they think I am being favoured in what I am doing. I am not being favoured. Whatever I am doing here, I am doing it with everything I have and I need to be respected to be given my pay. I don’t like discussing about money issues and if there is any NFF member who said we can work for free, then I will want to speak with him face to face.”
Nigeria really can’t be poorer than any of Mali or Togo, just blessed with a few selfish and miserly officials. Now, that’s paraphrasing Keshi.
‘’Messi is a blessing to football. You can’t take it away from him. There are other talented players in the Argentine team but I think that Messi is from another planet. Messi is from Jupiter.”
That should settle it. Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player on earth. Lionel Messi is the best from Jupiter. Wise one, Big Boss.
“Addiction is extreme. Let’s just say my wife loves the game but our passion level may not be the same because football is in my blood.”
Let the wifey stay out of this, pal. The Super Eagles is certainly not ready for a female assistant coach.
“I have had people who have approached me several times, offering to style me in either suits or other attire. But Africa is very hot and I cannot be wearing suits around the place! Secondly, my job makes me sweat at all hours. I am always on my feet, screaming, yelling and jumping about. You should not expect me to put a tie around my neck and remain uncomfortable throughout the day.”
Not a terrible excuse from someone whose fashion sense leaves too much room for a Messi hat-trick.
“I don’t like people who treat others in a demeaning manner; those who try to make others look small and insignificant. We are all equal and every human being is unique. I hate this and I believe you should be able to flow with other people.”
“I am a reserved person; I like to be on my own as well as with my brothers; I don’t like putting unnecessary pressure on people and I don’t like people putting pressure on me. Also, I would want to be remembered as a guy that is pleasant to be with.”
We can be pretty certain that some of Keshi’s players do not think exactly along the same line.
"Before these players started playing football, I’ve made
my money. They cannot give me money to satisfy my hunger. In the past, other
coaches did it. I, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi can’t be bribed. You can’t bribe me.
There is nothing you can use to entice me. Nobody has money to buy me because
I’m well by God’s grace."
Accuse Keshi of anything but bribery is as pious as the Pope.
“Believe in yourself and believe in what you want to do. On the way, you have people who are going to tell you that you cannot do it and that you are not so smart and that it is too difficult. You will meet a lot of difficulties on the way but be disciplined and continue to fight your way through. Whatever you do, take it to God first and let him show you the way. Talent is not enough, you need hard work.”
A last word for the upcoming generation, chief?