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New gospel according to Keshi

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To build one must first destroy. It’s in every spheres of life, be it engineering, politics and no less in sports. Of course, every coach must be willing and ready to unmake a raw talent in order to create a new.
He chisels off the roughages, plays the potter, philosophizes, plays the nurse, the doctor and psychologist all to wean the fledgling talent into an article, a cherished product and then package in an attractive manner to galvanise patronage for the product.
Little wonder coaches often talk about building a team. Put differently, reconstructing either the person/s or the collective array of players/ athletes that constitute a bunch with the intention of making a team or squad out of them.
Stephen Keshi has shown just a bit of these. Giving the details is hardly necessary. Suffice to say his invitation lately has aptly demonstrated what manner of project he’s under taking and the direction that the public should expect.
Few weeks ago, the former Togo and Mali manager, who in his hey day as Super Eagles skipper, was said to have slapped a fellow player on the pitch for choosing the wrong time to delay taking a throw in. It was in Tunisia and Nigeria needed to level up the score line for qualification for a World Cup or Nations Cup (I don’t recall which in particular) slot. Keshi the organizer, the general on the pitch took charge and the rest became history.
And so, after watching from the sideline the uncharacteristic and unprofessional attitude of the so-called foreign-based players, he resolved on assumption of duty to reconstruct by first destroying the rickety foundation.
Not though without diplomacy for he first called the usual crowd who came, pranced about in their manner peculiar to custom content in then hope their positions were assured. So Keshi lined them up against the fledglings from Botswana and as usual the pros merely forced a draw in Benin City and it took the angst of Nigerians for them to raise the bar of their game against Zambia in Kaduna.
Then, came the reconstruction: local league players became the option. Well, it must have generated jells because experience in the past showed that they were always used as training materials and dumped subsequently.  
Not so this time around. Keshi assembled them, Kept faith with the crop of players and the bunch began to take shape. However, he still harbour some fears. He opted to give the foreign-based ample opportunity to prove themselves, again, they failed.
The failure was glaring because the few domestic league players shone like a million stars. In fact, their performance was such that generated public anger against hitherto Lords of the Manor.
Even die-hard apologists of foreign-based professionals could not agree that their big boys hard turned villain, the majority had fallen out of favour.
That was the moment Keshi had anticipated. Of course, trust the builder, he took advantage to consolidate on his rebuilding plans, shapes up the project and diplomatically dispensed with the tired legs, fallen heroes.
He alerted the public of his intent by reeling out damning analyses of some foreign-based players and thumbed up for about 10.
Wasn’t his invitation of only younger players to team up with the domestic league players, who are now seen as the regulars in the squad, a pointer to his intention? Yes, only five were called up and they were truly stars in their respective clubs, never bench warmers.
And just yesterday, Keshi again demonstrated his resolve for a change, a positive one hinged on discipline and form. So-called big names, players that lacked character, are no longer in their fine vein of form, half-barked papers stars, seen more on the pages of newspapers than on the pitch commanding regular shirts for their clubs on weekly bases, were boldly left out.
His invitation is instructive only for places he feels needs consolidation rather massive call up that is wastful and unproductive.
Keshi, the big boss, showed his fangs to some England-based players whose habit had been to stroll in, offer lackadaisical services and collect stupendous bonuses for doing absolutely nothing.
Yes, keshi knows the tune of discipline, the essence of patriotism and fervour, wants to instill same and any who desires to be a part of the national platform for fame and who wants to boost his international career must key into the programme with all the nuances demanded thereby.  
Yes, that’s the message one gets from the list of invitations he unveiled yesterday. No Mikel, Taye Taiwo, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Peter Odemwingie-forget the marriage stuff, Uche Kalu, and other fringe players.  May this journey be sustained!

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