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Keshi unsure of future at helm of Nigeria

Keshi's contract came to an end after the World Cup and has not been renewed.

Nigerian head coach Stephen Keshi. Picture: Facebook.com.

CAPE TOWN - Nigerian football coach Stephen Keshi is unsure of his immediate future in charge of the African champions, and was heading back to the country on Thursday for discussions on continuing in the job.

Keshi's contract came to an end after the World Cup and has not been renewed by a Nigerian Football Federation in a state of turmoil since returning from Brazil.

But he agreed to take charge of the country's first two matches in the African Nations Cup qualifying campaign, a surprise 3-2 home loss to Congo last Saturday, and a goalless draw with South Africa in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Asked about his future, Keshi told Reuters: "I'm not sure yet. I was just brought in to help manage these two games."

"We have finished them now, so we'll see what happens. If we (he and the Nigerian federation) come to an agreement, yes I'll stay. If no, I'll depart. Let's see how it turns out when I get home."

Nigeria next play Sudan twice in a row in October - home and away - in their bid to qualify for next year's Nations Cup finals in Morocco. They trail behind Congo (six points) and South Africa (four points) in the Group A standings after picking up only one point from their first two games.

The shock defeat by Congo in Calabar was the first time Nigeria had lost a competitive home game in 33 years.

But the 52-year-old Keshi, who lives in San Francisco, still has considerable currency in his home country after leading Nigeria to the Nations Cup title in 2013, achieving it as coach after captaining Nigeria to the same trophy in 1994 when he was still playing, and taking the Super Eagles past the first round at the World Cup in Brazil.

But any decision on his future could be bogged down over the coming weeks as the federation sets a date for elections after a disruptive two months that have seen two separate bids to unseat its leadership thwarted by the threat of Fifa sanctions.

Keshi blamed the uncertain atmosphere created by squabbling officials among the reasons for the poor start by Nigeria to their bid to defend their Nations Cup title.

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