Keshi: I am ready to leave now

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IOL pic feb12 soccer nigeria stephen keshi Associated Press Nigeria's national soccer coach Stephen Keshi says he has resigned, but is waiting to hear from team officials.

Johannesburg - Nigeria’s football coach Stephen Keshi told a South African radio station on Monday that he had resigned after leading his country to the 2013 African Cup of Nations title.

“I gave the national football federation my letter of resignation immediately after the final, but I have not heard from them,” Keshi admitted to public broadcaster SABC.

Keshi dropped hints last week of his unhappiness with Nigerian football officials during a media conference in Durban before the semi-final drubbing of Mali, saying he would “pack his bags and leave” if unwanted.

“If, back home, they do not like what I am doing, well, you cannot force someone to like you,” he said.

Keshi captained Nigeria to victory over Zambia in the 1994 final and guided his country to a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso on Sunday in a Soweto final settled by a Sunday Mba goal five minutes before half-time.

He spoke highly of Mali last week and said he would not mind returning to a country he coached at the 2010 Cup of Nations in Angola only to lose his job after a first-round elimination.

“It is a place that I love, Malians are wonderful people. Should the chance arise, I will go back there,” said the 51-year-old, who also had two spells with Togo before replacing sacked Samson Siasai as Nigeria coach two years ago.

His playing career spanned clubs in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Belgium, France, the United States and Malaysia and he was an outstanding centre-back for the national team.

Calls to Keshi went unanswered and no Nigerian official was immediately available for comment.

The triumphant Nigerian players are scheduled to arrive home on Tuesday. - Sapa-AFP

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