Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi
By Duro Ikhazuagbe
To ensure that the Super Eagles make appreciable impact at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations next January, Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Tuesday met with all the coaches attached to the senior national team.
In the Super Eagles entourage to the parley with the minister was Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, Assistant Coaches, Daniel Amokachi and Sylvanus Okpala and Goalkeeper Trainer, Ike Shorunmu.
Top Glass House sources told THISDAY Tuesday night that the meeting also attended by the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including Aminu Maigari, Scribe, Musa Amodu and Technical Committee Chairman, Christopher Green centred on how the Super Eagles will have decent outing at the tournament to be held in South Africa.
“The meeting with the minister was nothing unusual for us. It was a routine meeting to brief him the progress we are making to have a formidable team before the AFCON 2013, where we are hoping to make an impact,” observed a member of the team Tuesday night.
Although he declined to go into other details of the meeting, the source however refuted any order to the team to stop experimenting with new players.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles handlers have altered the team’s training schedule ahead of the international friendly against Venezuela in Miami, United States on November 14.
Eagles now leave their training camp at the Bolton White Apartment in Abuja every morning at 6:30am, and returns to the camping site at about 9:30 am all in the bid to adjust to the humid weather condition of Miami at this time of the year.
“It’s all in a bid to ensure that the match time for the friendly against Venezuela and the sunny nature of the weather that is expected when the two team tango in the United States is followed,” Eagles Secretary, Dayo Enebi Achor, declared Tuesday night.
The match time has been scheduled for 8:30pm Nigerian time expected to be very sunny day in Miami.
The team will train throughout this week in the early hours and is expected to jet out by the weekend for the friendly against the Venezuelans.
Keshi Tuesday expressed his joy at the brace scored by Osaze Odemwingie in his team’s 2-0 win against Southampton on Monday night in the English Premier League.
“We always want our top players to be on top of their game and I am delighted to see him score a brace after we have succeeded in convincing him that the national team still needs his services.
“We pray that all our players continue to be in good health and score for their club sides ahead of the Nations Cup championship. It means we will have a very good outing at the AFCON 2013,” concludes Keshi.
The Eagles will begin their Nations Cup quest on January 21 in Nelspruit against Burkina Faso. Zambia and Ethiopia are the other teams in their Group C.