Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has been mandated with the tough task to guide the Super Eagles to at least the Semi final of the Confederations Cup, which starts in Brazil on June 15.
Addressing the media Thursday, spokesman for the board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Emeka Inyama said that the federation would not expect less from the Eagles bearing in mind their status as the reigning African champions.
He said that winning the Confederations Cup or settling for a semi final berth will match the huge public expectations from the national team.
Nigeria which on February 10 defeated Burkina Faso to clam the Africa of Nations is pooled in Group B along Tahiti, Spain and Uruguay.
They will have a feel of Brazil which will also stage the 2014 World Cup by playing all three group matches in Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Fortaleza.
Brazil 2013 will mark Nigeria’s return to the “Mini World Cup” an exclusive tournament reserved for all the champions of the confederations, since the Eagles finished fourth in their maiden and only appearance in the tournament then known as the Intercontinental Cup (King Fahd Cup) in 1995.
Nigeria will test the waters against Oceania champions, Tahiti in their first match at the Estádio Mineirão Stadium which can seat 62,000 fans in Belo Horizonte on June 17.
“Having emerged the winners of the Africa Cup of Nations and improved to 30th position in FIFA ranking, we expect Keshi to guide the Eagles to victory or reach the semi final at the Confederations Cup. Our desire is to ensure that in June, Nigeria is fully prepared to overpower the likes of Spain, Uruguay and Tahiti in the same group and Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Japan who are in Group A,” Inyama, who is also the chairman of the Nigeria National League said.
Inyama similarly disclosed that the Eagles technical crew has submitted its program for the forthcoming 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Kenya in Calabar by proposing a training camp for the home-based players before the arrival of the foreign contingent.
The Eagles will square up against the Harambee Stars at the UJ Esuene Stadium on March 23.