Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has been left out of the five-man shortlist for the vacant Ivory Coast post, the Ivorien federation has announced.
The Ivory Coast Football Federation on Tuesday listed the coaches being considered to succeed Herve Renard, without the Super Eagles coach as one of them. Keshi was listed in the initial list released about a fortnight ago.
The inclusion of the former Nigeria captain’s name in the first shortlist has not been taken lightly by his employers, the Nigeria Football Federation. He has faced an NFF panel over the allegation that he applied for the Ivorian job while still under contract with the NFF. Keshi has since distanced himself from all that is taking place in Abidjan. He told reporters soon after the disciplinary hearing that the names may have been randomly selected.
Even though Keshi has not been listed in the final-5 list, the position of the Nigerian federation on the matter appears not to have changed.
The NFF president Amaju Pinnick told The PUNCH on Tuesday that he would not comment on the matter.
“Investigation is still ongoing and so I can’t speak on the matter,” he said.
The five men now being considered for the job are Paulo Duarte from Portugal, Polish Henryk Kasperczak and Frenchmen Patrice Neveu, Frédéric Antonetti and Michel Dussuyer.
Of the contenders, Neveu, Duarte, Dussuyer and Kasperczak have all worked in Africa. Antonetti is the only one who has not managed any team on the continent.
Kasperczak coached Ivory Coast to third place at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations and has also had spells in charge of Tunisia, Morocco, Mali and Senegal.
Ivory Coast officials outlined the qualities they are looking for in the new coach on their website.
“The criteria required for the duration of the contract are to have highest coaching qualification; a great capacity to adapt, an ability to work in a team, and also speak French,” it read.
In London, The Daily Mail reports that Inter have again expressed an interest in Mikel Obi as back-up in case they fail to sign Felipe Melo from Galatasaray. The Nigerian struggled to make an impact in Jose Mourinho’s first team last season following the arrival of fellow holding midfielder Nemanja Matic. It is believed that Blues boss Mourinho is keen to try and keep Mikel, but knows it will be hard to try and persuade the Nigerian to settle for a place on the bench at Stamford Bridge.