- Police to deploy 500 senior officers for match
Duro Ikhazuagbe and Okon Bassey in Uyo
Super Eagles players and officials wednesday observed a one minute silence for a former captain and coach of the senior national team, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, who died exactly one year ago.
Keshi led Eagles to win the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations as captain and returned 19 years later to win the AFCON 2013 as head coach. He died of cardiac arrest in Benin City on June 7, 2016.
But before Eagles began their last open training session at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo yesterday, interim Captain of the team, Ogenyi Onazi led the glory seeking new generation Eagles in honouring Keshi who is unarguably the most successful indigenous handler of the three-time African champions.
The Trabzonspor of Turkey midfielder later posted his appreciation for Keshi on his twitter handle.
â€œItâ€™s one year now, I will never forget you sir you gave me the opportunity that made me what I am today. Rest In Peace. BIG BOSS,â€ said Onazi in remembrance of Keshi.
Even NFF President, Amaju Pinnick who was not at the training session in Uyo, led football enthusiasts and administrators who were present at Lagos State Football Association EkoFootball public presentation ceremony at the MUSON Centre at Onikan, observe a minute silence for Keshi.
Most Super Eagles who spoke with THISDAY correspondent in Uyo expressed their zeal to win the match for Keshi and Nigerians.
â€œ This match is for you Big Boss. We are determined to make you proud,â€ observed Onazi in memory of the coach who made him a household name in Nigerian football today.
Eagles defender, Williams Troost Ekong, declared: â€œIt is going to be a good game. Everyone is fit and ready. It will be a healthy competition, everybody is working hard to justify his slot. We are going to win this match for our fans to be happy,â€ stressed Ekong.
Also reacting, Eagles attacking midfielder, Oghenekaro Etebo, said that the team was ready to take on Bafana Bafana and win squarely. â€œWe need to win. Coach Gernot Rohr has a good record. All we believe is that we are going to winâ€.
Noting that the South Africans had won all their nine games they last played, Etebo admitted that the game would not be an easy one.
On his part, Goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, said they were ready for the game adding that the other two goalkeepers, Daniel Akpeyi and Dele Alampasu, were in top form, â€œwe are happy with one another.â€
The trio of Ahmed Musa, Elderson Echiejile and Kenneth Omeruo took part in yesterdayâ€™s training session for Rohr to have a full complement of invited players for the game.
Yesterdayâ€™s training was Eagles last open session. Reporters are barred from the teamâ€™s closed training today ahead of Saturdayâ€™s must-win AFCON 2019 qualifying clash with South Africa.
Meanwhile, Akwa Ibom state Commissioner of Police, Don Awunah, has expressed the readiness of the stateâ€™s Police Command to guarantee soccer loving Nigerians a peaceful atmosphere devoid of any infractions on Saturday.
The State Police boss in a statement signed by the Commandâ€™s Public Relations Officers (PPRO), DSP Chukwu Ikechukwu, directed the deployment of over 500 specially selected officers knowledgeable in crowd control and policing events of such magnitude to provide top notch security before, during and after the football match.