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Keshi Quits, Criticizes American Ref Geiger

  • Reuters, Tuesday, July 1, 2014 11:56 AM

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi on Tuesday stepped down following his country's elimination from the World Cup by France in the round of 16. The Super Eagles played a tough match against Les Bleus, who were forced to wait until the 79th-minute to break through, before adding a second in stoppage time.

"Friends, it has been a good run and I have enjoyed every moment. It's been an honor coaching the Super Eagles. It is however time to bow out," Keshi wrote on Twitter. Keshi led Nigeria to the African Nations’ Cup title in 2013.

During his post-game press conference, Keshi criticized the performance of American referee Mark Geiger, particularly for failing to send off France midfielder Blaise Matuidi for a late, studs-up challenge on Ogenyi Onazi, which resulted in a fractured tibia and fibula for the Lazio midfielder. “I am not happy with the officiating because Onazi, on two occasions, he had a very bad tackle and nothing was done by the referee,” Keshi said. “I think the referee was just … for me, I think he was biased. This is the first time I will speak about the referee in my life as a coach but it wasn’t good.”

The tackle on Onazi also caught the attention of Argentina legend Diego Maradona, who said, “It is impossible that the referee did not see this criminal tackle, it is worse than what Suarez did.”

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