The stage is gradually getting set for former Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, to officially begin a legal tussle with the Nigeria Football Federation as it is now midway to the expiration of the deadline in the letter written to press for compensation from the country’s football governing body.
Keshi was fired by the NFF on July 4 majorly on grounds that he applied for the then vacant Ivory Coast national team coaching job, as well as for inviting to the national team a player (Gabriel Okechukwu) adjudged not qualified for the Super Eagles
Documents obtained from Keshi’s legal team, dated July 13, 2015, was acknowledged to have been received on July 15 by the NFF, and a deadline of 30 days was spelt out for all demands requested to be met.
Amongst other things, Keshi’s legal team demanded a N1billion compensation from the NFF and a written apology circulated across the world as they claim their client’s contract was wrongfully terminated on frivolous grounds and his hard-earned name soiled.
“We demand the retraction of your (NFF) defamatory documents, a written apology to our client to be circulated internationally and the sum of N1,000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira) only as damages for defamation,” the document read.
“TAKE NOTICE that if you neglect, refuse and/or fail to heed these lawful demand within thirty (30) days of the receipt of this letter, we shall, without further notice to you commence action in an appropriate court to seek all lawful remedies that have accrued to our client as a result of your action.”
Also, Keshi’s agent, Emmanuel Addo, in an interview suggested that the NFF shot itself on many grounds and they are now ready for the mother of all cases with the football house.
“We have taken our time to study the situation and we have no doubt that we have a just case against the NFF,” he said.
While Keshi’s camp are overtly confident they have a case and would surely floor the NFF same way former Assistant Coach Sylvanus Okpala did, the NFF lawyers are also talking tough even as they claim they have more incriminating evidences that would end up disgracing Keshi if he institutes the legal proceedings.
The Deputy Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the NFF, Iyke Igbokwe, earlier in the week in Abuja said Keshi’s advisers only want to extort money from him, stressing that he would resign as a lawyer if Keshi wins the case in court.
“The Disciplinary Committee was very meticulous in handling the case. I can conveniently tell you that Keshi breached almost five to six clauses in his contract,” he told journalists.
“We are going to match Keshi in court with the overwhelming materials in our possession. Barrister Green, Barr Majeoku and myself are battle ready for Keshi. I assure you that Keshi’s case is not going to go the way of Sylvanus Okpala because Okpala’s case was very clear.
“We are going to meet Keshi in court and if Keshi wins that case in court, I will resign as a lawyer and I am serious about it. I am telling you with all sense of sincerity that Keshi will not win the case. If he wants my advice, I would tell him to sue the Ivoirien FA instead of the NFF,” he said.
Keshi’s lawyer, Dan Kozah, said he would not join issues with the NFF on the pages of newspapers.
“There is little or nothing to say for now, we are pursuing our case logically and we know we have strong grounds, we will only pursue our case in the relevant courts and not on the pages of newspapers as some peoples have chosen to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, there are suggestions the National Sports Commission is making frantic efforts to see the NFF, Keshi imbroglio settled out of court.