This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Twenty-Two Home Eagles Open AFCON Training

After over three months of layoff from the national team's camp as a result of injuries, Kano Pillars duo of Gabriel Reuben and Papa Idris, were the cynosure of all eyes as the Super Eagles opened camp for the African Cup of Nations in Abuja, with its first training session.

There were fears that the two players who have been part of the national team setup from the home front since Stephen Keshi took over about a year ago may not be fit on time for the AFCON 2013 championship, but they came out sparkling in training on Monday morning at the Practice Pitch of the Abuja National Stadium.

Team doctor Ibrahim Gyaran, who later spoke on the state of health of the two players passed them fit for hostilities in the run-up to the championship.

"The only fear I have is that since they have not played competitive football for sometimes they will still experience some mind jitters. But that is only a thing of the mind and the team psychologist, Dr Robinson Okosun and the coaching crew are already working on that aspect," he declared.

At Monday morning training session, 22 players trained with only Akwa United's Bassey and Fengor Ogude of Velaranga of Norway, who is expected to join the team were not at the early morning training session. The players were grilled on fitness, tactics and general conditioning for a championship of the magnitude of the Nations Cup.

Head Coach, Stephen Keshi again assured the players that if they prove worthy of a place in the team and better than their European based counterpart they will be picked for the championship.

"It will be my delight if 10 players prove good enough to make the championship roster and I will be happy if at all times four of such players start every game but you have to prove it on the pitch that you are ready for the challenge," he told the players before training commenced. The team's traing continues in Abuja.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles midfielder, Fengor Ogude, gave the team what looked like a return to camp baby last Friday when his wife put to bed a bouncing baby girl.

The power playing Norway-based midfielder, was overwhelemed with joy when he put a phone call across to team Scribe, Dayo Enebi Achor to inform him of the good news. "Achor immidiately christened the girl AFCON 2013 camp baby.

Baby and mother are said to be in very good condition and the player was expected to have linked him with the home based stars by the evening of Monday in Abuja, as he was given permission to settle some private matter by Head Coach Stephen Keshi.

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