Keshi with the Super Eagles
By Jude Okwe
Despite having little knowledge about the Namibian national team, Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi remains hopeful of a successful outing on Sunday.
He, however, wants Nigerians to back his wards with prayers as he is yet to assemble the best legs for the senior national team.
Fielding questions in Calabar Wednesday at the Transcorp Metropolitan Hotel, the former Super Eagles captain said his crew have little knowledge about Namibian players.
“We only know a little about those plying their trades in South Africa and Germany and hope to exploit this knowledge to our advantage, come Sunday,” he noted.
Keshi, however, ruled out any game-plan to underrate the visitors as they were no more minnows in Africa football given what happened in January when Gabon and Equatorial Guinea hosted the African Cup of Nations.
Keshi admitted that it was not easy to build a new Super Eagles that plays with understanding because the players come from different football clubs hence it would take him two years to build a team that can blend and play cohesively, noting that the players in Calabar were not the best in Nigeria as the country has an array of stars.
“John Mikel Obi is not here because we don’t need him for now. Mikel, Osaze Odemwingie, Yakubu Aiyegbeni were deliberately left out. We want to give other players a chance to prove themselves. We want to have a pool of players in the national team. In camp are 14 home-based players and 13 foreign ones,” he said.
On his resort to home-based players, Keshi fondly called ‘The Boss’ in his playing days, maintained that all over the world, football nations were building their teams by looking inward and that Nigeria cannot be an exception and appealed to football loving Nigerians to show understanding by giving the local players a chance to prove their worth.
“Brazil is building a new national football team just like some other countries are doing. We believe in these home based players. We need to encourage them. Mind you, those now abroad left from here. With exposure these local players would become stars tomorrow,” he added.
First choice goalkeeper of the Super Eagles, Vincent Enyeama, who will captain the team on Sunday in the absence of injured Joseph Yobo, called on fans to come out en-mass on Sunday to cheer them to victory as they have resolved to put in their best for Nigeria to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as the country cannot afford to miss the world’s football fiesta consecutively.
He said he was impressed with the training programme of Keshi and that of the players during training and expressed optimism of beating the Namibians on Sunday at the U. J Esuene Stadium, Calabar and solicited for prayers.
“I did not feature regularly last season for my club (Lille of France) not that I was not good enough. Before I joined Lille, the club had a goalkeeper. You know in Europe there is hierarchy and you have to respect that. Everything depends on the coach. But I’m looking forward to a wonderful outing next season. I have no plans of leaving Lille just because I don’t play regularly. I have three more years on my contract,” he said.