Former Nigeria midfielder, Austin Okocha, raised more than a few eye brows when he tore into Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi after the 0-0 draw with Iran at Arena da Baixada, Curitiba on June 16.
Okocha was unforgiving in his post-match analysis and blamed Keshi for the team’s display.
“Keshi did not do enough work on the team. The tactical play of the Eagles was so bad, I hold Keshi responsible for this,” Okocha said.
Okocha was singing a different tune just a few days later after the Super Eagles put Bosnia’s Dragons to the sword in Cuiabá.
“All credit to Keshi and his boys because he’s the first Nigerian coach to get a win in the World Cup tournament.
“He deserves all credit because I criticized him a little bit. After our first game we questioned his tactical approach to the game. But now, the team showed a lot of improvement,” Okocha said after the game.
Keshi has now launched a thinly veiled-attack on Okocha claiming that the former PSG midfielder should “have known better” than publicly question his tactics after the draw against Iran.
“The annoying thing is that they get criticized unnecessarily back home. When that comes from the man in the street you can understand but when people who should know like ex-footballers criticize the team, I don’t enjoy it at all,” Keshi said.
The Nigeria national team coach added that some of the criticisms he had to deal with after the Iran game were over the top as his family was targeted for abuse.
“I am disappointed but it’s their thing.
“They abuse my siblings, my mother. For what? For representing Nigeria? Is it the thank you I get for representing Nigeria?
“It’s just a shame that they keep doing the same thing and later they come back and say they are sorry,” he said.