Eagles in training at Nelspruit
By Femi Solaja
Nigeria’s trip to Faro, Portugal appears to be turning a wise decision by the Stephen Keshi led coaching crew as Super Eagles players are likely going to open their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Burkina Faso Monday in a likely winter condition at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Eagles’ training camp in Portugal was considered a poor judgment because of the winter coldness that was likely going to contrast with the supposed warm summer condition of South Africa at this time of the year.
But the sudden change in the South African weather which now ensures steady rainfall since Saturday morning now made the trip to Faro, a worthwhile venture. The two matches of Group A were played with blighting cold and rainfall at the Soccer City in Soweto on Saturday. And weather reports monitored in Johannesburg Sunday indicate that the Nigeria, Burkina Faso match may be played under a rainy condition.
Eagles last training session at the lush green pitch of Ingwenyama Sports and Resort Centre in Nelspruit was done under a heavy down pour, with the weather also dropping below what ordinary should be summer condition.
Both Keshi and Mikel insisted that they were not ready to take chances by staying away from the rain.
“We can’t take chances whether it rains or not”, Mikel said when asked about the readiness of the team.
All the players responded very well and the team is injury free, with skipper Joseph Yobo saying it was good to be back in the bright sunny weather of Africa.
“Its been good since we got here and I think the players are gradually getting used to being together and I know we will have a beautiful tournament,” the Eagles skipper declared.
Meanwhile, the cheery news from Eagles camp was the return to full training by goalkeeper, Austin Ejide.
Ejide had copped an injury in one of the team’s international friendly against Cape Verde in Portugal.
“I feel real good and ready but I am taking it easy as the medics have advised but am feeling real good”, he declared. On Saturday evening, goalkeeper trainer, Ike Shorunmu, took Ejide on a special training session with Ejide turning out in impressive dives, punches and general conditioning of a good goalkeeper.