BRASILIA: Stephen Keshi quit as coach of Nigeria after a 2-0 defeat by France signalled their exit from the World Cup in the second round in the Estadio Nacional.
Keshi, who guided Nigeria to victory in the last African Nations’ Cup, said: “It’s time for me to go back to my family and face fresh challenges.”
Keshi thought the result was injust and complained about United States referee Mark Geiger ruling out a first-half ‘goal’ for offside. Apparently not understanding the rules either of offside of screen replays of controversial incidents, he said: “I’d like to know why the referee refused us a goal and why the slow-motion replay was not shown on the big screen?
“It was a scandal. A defeat is bad enough but you have seen your team play it’s more of a shame to lose in this way and it’s upsetting. We didn’t deserve to lose. But that’s football.
“There was no offside on the disallowed goal. The referee is human, he can make mistakes. I’m not crazy about his performance.
“It’s not up to me to tell the referee how to do his job but twice Onazi was the victim of dangerous tackles. The refereeing just wasn’t up to standard.”
Keshi conceded that goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama had to been at fault on the first French goal in coming off his line and failing to reach a left-wing corner which Paul Pogba headed home.
“I don’t know why he did that,” said Keshi. “That cost us very dear.”
France coach Didier Deschamps, their World Cup-winning captain in 1998, praised Nigeria for the problems posed by their early energy and athleticism.
He said: : “We had a lot of chances in the end tbough we didn’t really take control of it until about 60th minute. It was quite tight because we were up against a very competitive team but, this is the World Cup, so all matches are tough.We’re not complaining.
“Overall I am a happy man. We’ll enjoy the feeling and then, in four days, we aim to do this all over again. Once you are in the quarter-finals you want to make sure to go another step further. “