Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has responded to coach of Malawi Tom Saintfiet who accused the Nigerian of racism.
Keshi did not take lightly the request of Saintfiet to move the World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Malawi away from Calabar with insecurity as the reason sighted by the Belgian.
Keshi angrily attacked Saintfiet and called him a white dude, who should go back to Belgium, a statement labeled as racist by the Malawi coach.
Keshi however said no hurt was intended as he was only defending his country.
“I was just standing up for my country when someone tries to make insinuations that it is not a safe place. The Afcon winning captain and coach for Nigeria told supersport.com.
“I have nothing against Sainfiet, he was in Nigeria recently and we shook hands and had a few things we discussed. I just was very unhappy that a man who last year was prepared to work for and in Nigeria with a four year contract can all of a sudden start to describe the place as ‘unsafe’ so am not having that.”
“I am not interested in all those sorts of things, my first aim is always to defend my country on and off the pitch. It was not a personal attack on the person of Sainfiet, it is unfortunate that it has come across like that, but this is my default mode of defending Nigeria.
It would be recalled that Saintfiet was announced as Technical Director of the Nigeria Football federation and was all but set to commence duties when the appointment was scuttled by the Nigerian Sports minister who felt that it was better to appoint a Nigerian.
Nigeria need a point from the Malawi match to guarantee top place and into the play-offs of the African World Cup qualifiers.