Some notable football stakeholders in the country yesterday stressed the need for Super Eagles handlers to present a formidable team at the forthcoming 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in South Africa. They spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Christian Chukwu, a former Super Eagles Head Coach, stressed that Stephen Keshi should be given a free hand to pick a team of his choice to represent the country at the tournament. He added that the country abounds with talented players and as such, could not be held to ransom by anyone for not being selected to represent the country at the continental championship. The former coach also commended the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) for its proactive stance in the arrangements of logistics for the team. "Keshi knows these players better than anyone else and he knows their abilities, so it will be wrong for anybody to impose any player on him, irrespective of the name. The only thing I know is that Nigeria can do with or without any player. He believes in the ones he has called up because he believes they can give him results.
"The federation has done well by sticking to Keshi's proposals for AFCON and they have done everything possible to ensure that they do not derail," he said.
In the same vein, Wahid Akanni, a former Green Eagles midfielder, hailed the NFA for the pivotal role it had played in getting the team qualified for the continent's foremost football tournament. "The NFA is acting in the way that it should act and the result is there for all to see. I think Keshi is doing very well by bringing together home-based and foreign-based players to build a formidable team. Early preparation is the key to achieving our goals and the Faro camp is the ideal place to prepare our team for a big tournament like the Nations Cup," Akanni said.
Meanwhile, Henry Nwosu, a member of the victorious Green Eagles squad that won the AFCON in Lagos in 1980, harped on a painstaking preparation for the tournament. "With early preparation, I believe Keshi will have more time on his hands to properly assess the performance of his players. That way, he can properly address all the problem areas in the team before the kick-off of the tournament in January," Nwosu said.