Struggling defending African champion Nigeria secured its first victory in African Cup of Nations qualifying but still announced Thursday that coach Stephen Keshi had been fired.
Keshi led Nigeria to the Cup of Nations title in 2013 and the last 16 of this year’s World Cup.
However, he was fired along with assistant coaches Daniel Amokachi and Ike Shorounmu after a meeting of the Nigeria Football Federation’s executive committee, the NFF said.
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While Nigeria sits out of the qualification places, Algeria, which also made the last 16 at the World Cup, made it four wins from four games by beating Malawi 3-0 at home. Goals by Yacine Brahimi, Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani sent the Algerians to the 2015 finals in Morocco, scheduled for January and February.
The top two teams in each of the seven groups will play at the African Cup along with the best third-place team – currently Egypt – and host Morocco. Nigeria and Ivory Coast are the big teams in danger of missing out.
Nigeria has been wrangling over a new contract for Keshi since the end of the World Cup and the African champion’s poor start in qualifying, when it went winless through its first three games, ultimately decided the coach’s fate. Hours after a 3-1 win over Sudan the NFF said Keshi and his assistants were relieved of their duties.
Former Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu will take charge for the remainder of the qualifiers before a foreign coach is appointed, the NFF said.