This Day (Lagos)

9 August 2011

Nigeria/Ghana: We're Playing for Pride, Says Siasia

Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasa makes a point during his media briefing ahead of Tuesday's friendly against the Black Stars of Ghana

Samson Siasia insists that the Super Eagles will be playing for pride when they tackle their long-time foes, the Black Stars of Ghana in an international friendly taking place this evening at Vicarage Road.

On his part Black Stars handler, Goran Stevanovic said the performance of his players more than the result was uppermost on his mind in the encounter, pitting the West African rivals together for the 49th time.

Siasia, speaking at the media event ahead of the clash, stressed that in spite of the problematic arrival of his players he was still confident that the Eagles will put up a good showing this evening.

"We're not here to lose to Ghana. The players all know what is at stake and I expect them to put in their best. They are all aware of what happened the last time we played in England (Ghana humiliated the Eagles 4-1 in 2009) and are determined not to allow such a thing happen again.

"With the crucial Nations Cup qualifier around the corner, they also know that places are at stake. I'm confident they will do well," Siasia told a packed media scrum at the event which held at the media centre of the stadium used by Championship side, Watford.

He also dismissed fears that with only 14 players available for him it might be problematic should injuries arise during the game.

"Only 11 players play the game and with have more than that number to prosecute the match. We don't pray for injuries but they do crop up we will cross the bridge when we get there," said the Nigerian handler, who later put his players through their paces on the lush green artificial tuff of Vicarage Road.

Stevanovic, apparently taking a cue from Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini who tried to play down the result of last weekend's Community Shield game against Manchester United, insisted that he would be more concerned with the performance of his wards the actual result itself.

"I need to see the players perform well because that will show me that we are on course for our Nations Cup qualifier. So for me the performance of the players more than the result is important," said Stevanovic, who only joined the Black Stars early this year.

In 47 previous meetings between both West African rivals, the Black Stars have triumphed 19 times to the Super Eagles' 11 victories.

They have also been able to put 72 goals past Nigeria while letting in 44. Both sides have drawn 17 times. The Black Stars have won the last three meetings while the Eagles had triumphed five times on the trot before then.

The match kicks of at 8pm at Watford Football Club's 89-year-old 18,000-seater Vicarage Road ground.

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