Daily Trust (Abuja)

19 December 2012

Nigeria: Local Players Will Fail Keshi at Nations Cup - Laloko

Lagos — Former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Technical Director, Chief Kashimawo Laloko has warned Super Eagles' Chief Coach Stephen Keshi not to risk taking any home based player to the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa in January.

Laloko faulted the decision of Eagles' coach to give the local players some slots in his team to the Nations Cup.

The Director of Pepsi Football Academy said that between now and the Nations Cup next month, it would be hard for Keshi to expose the local players to quality competitive training especially when the Nigeria Premier League season has not started.

"I think Keshi got it wrong with the plan to take some of the local players to the Nations Cup next month. These players are not playing any competitive match and there is no friendly match whom Keshi can use to test the fitness of these players.

"These players must be match-rusty when the local league has not started. Before he can take one or two to the Nations Cup, he has to see them in some competitive matches to know how good they can play at a big stage like the Nations Cup where African stars around the world will be on parade.

"I don't think the Nations Cup is a competition we can take with kid gloves. Keshi needs to look at what I'm saying critically before he picks his team for the Nations Cup in South Africa," he said.

In a related development, former Nigerian international, Ben Iroha is of the opinion that the Eagles' gaffer needs the best players to prosecute the Nations Cup.

Unlike Laloko, Iroha believes that no matter the league where the players are coming from, the most important thing is whether such players can deliver.

"Whether home based or foreign based, what Keshi should look for his fitness and how good the players are. To me, he needs the best to succeed at the Nations Cup," he said.

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