Saturday, July 14, 2012

Auditioning for strikers • Keshi shopping for marksmen • Eguavoen, Adepoju wary of Liberians

                                   Nigeria`s National Soccer Team
Nigeria will do everything possible to be at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, though Liberia stands on their path. But the Super Eagles will have to do it with their best strikers.
Eagles coach Stephen Keshi admits that the team has not been scoring the way they should in recent matches, saying it is a problem he is seeking solutions. He had earlier said he would add about two more players to the team to bolster the midfield and the attack.
The Eagles scored a total of four goals in the three matches played in June despite creating several scoring chances during the encounters.
He says, “It’s true we’re not scoring goals the way we should, but we’re working on it.
“We have a lot of players who were not part of the last games like Obafemi Martins, Obinna Nsofor, Ogbuke Obasi, Emmanuel Emenike and more.
“These players are as important and very good to our ambition of building a strong national team for Nigeria and I have been in touch with all of them.”
Keshi is not feeling overconfident that Nigeria would beat Liberia as he cautioned against using the February friendly between the two teams as a yardstick to measure the outcome of the qualifiers.
His former teammates Austin Eguavoen and Mutiu Adepoju also warn that Nigeria cannot afford to miss out on the Nations Cup next year, saying the Eagles must win the tie.
Eguavoen, a former Eagles coach, says Liberia should not be regarded as minnows as he recalls how Guinea shocked Nigeria to deny the Eagles a place at the 2012 Nations Cup.
“Every team wants to beat Nigeria especially when it appears that we’re a weak,” Eguavoen, who coaches Enyimba, says.
“Liberia, just like some other teams in the continent, have realised that anything is possible as long as you put everything into it. They will be fuelled by the success of Zambia, who defeated favourites Ivory Coast, at the last competition.
“Keshi has his philosophy on how to make the team succeed. I had mine and Siasia had his when we were in charge of the team, but I will want to see where our top scorers are kept busy as they score goals.
“We have quality players that can make us proud, but I think players like Nnamdi Oduamadi, Osaze Odemwingie, Ekhigo Ehiosun and Nosa Igiebor can boost the team with their goals.”
His opinion aligns with that of Adepoju, who says it would be scandalous if Nigeria fail to be at the finals.
“We have everything that we need to beat Liberia. Apart from the fact that Liberia are the lowest ranked team in the last qualifying round, the Eagles should be fired up by the shame of not being at the last Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon,” Adepoju says.
In the 12 encounters between the two sides, Nigeria have won eight times, while three games ended in a draw. The only time Liberia won was in a 2002 World Cup qualifier in Monrovia in July, 2000.

Stephen Keshi, Eagles Manager

Austin Eguavoen warns that Nigeria cannot afford to miss out at the Nations Cup next year

 Mutiu Adepoju gave the same warning as Eguavoen

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