Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi
By Duro Ikhazuagbe
After witnessing Nigeria drawn along with defending champions, the Copper Bullets of Zambia, Stallion of Burkina Faso and the Brave Warriors of Ethiopia in Group C of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday night, Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi has said that his wards had a fair placement and will strive to make an impact.
Keshi who took charge of the Eagles last November after Samson Siasia got fired for failing to qualify Nigeria for the last edition of the African showpiece football tournament jointly hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, heaved a sigh of relief that he avoided the continent’s powerhouses.
“I think it’s a fair group. We are already in the group and we just need to get ourselves prepared and that’s it,” observed Keshi while fielding reporters’ questions shortly after the draws in Durban.
“Burkina Faso is a very good team and I want to believe that every team that qualified for this tournament is an outstanding team.
“We have to treat everyone with a lot of concentration. Burkina Faso is a good team and we all saw them at the 2012 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations.
“So we will go home and strategise and see what we can come up with when we come up against these teams,” observed the gaffer who led the Eagles to their second African title at the 1994 edition hosted by Tunisia.
The Super Eagles will take on Burkina Faso in their opening group game at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on January 21, 2013.
Four days later at the same venue, Nigeria will take on the same Zambians they defeated 2-1 to win their second AFCON trophy and then round off their group campaign against Ethiopia at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on January 29.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s Coach, Herve Renard has said that the pairing in Group C was an opportunity for the Copper Bullets to revenge the quarter final defeat they suffered against the Super Eagles at the 2010 edition in Angola.
"We crashed out of the quarter-finals in 2010 to Nigeria," Renard recalled Thursday. "So we have a good chance of revenge against a very good Nigerian team."
In that match at the Angola 2010 tournament played on January 25 in Lubango, Zambia lost 5-4 on post-match penalties following a scoreless draw at the end of extra time.
Two years and two days after that defeat, Zambia will face The Super Eagles on January 27 in both sides penultimate Group C game in Nelspruit.