This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Afcon 2013 - Eagles Defy Rains to Prepare for Stallions

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Ikechukwu Uche of Nigeria reacts after missing a chance during the match against Burkina Faso.

STALLIONS

After a hectic trip from Faro, Portugal, through Lisbon and from there to Johannesburg, South Africa, before arriving its Nations Cup 2013 first round base in Nelspruit, last Thursday evening, the Super Eagles have quickly settled down with four training sessions so far at the lush green pitch of the Ingwenyama Sports and Resort Centre.

The workout session supervised by Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, first started at 8am local time and 7am in Nigeria on Friday. Keshi took the players on regaining the physicality after a long trip and told them that there will be another training session later in the evening at 7:30pm, which will be 6:30 in Nigeria. The training sessions have since been done once daily in the evenings at about 7:30pm.

Not even the heavy downpour of Saturday and Sunday could prevent the Nigerian side from having its training sessions as it prepares for its opening game on Monday against Burkina Faso.

"We can't take chances whether it rains or not," Chelsea John Mikel Obi said when asked about the readiness of the team.

All the players responded very well and the team is injury free, with Skipper Joseph Yobo saying it was good to be back in the bright sunny weather of Africa.

"Its been good since we got here and I think the players are gradually getting used to being together and I know we will have a beautiful tournament," the Eagles skipper declared.

The national team will hold a media parley with the international press at 3:30pm local time on Sunday evening and train later in the evening at 7:30pm for the game against its West African neighbours. The training will hold in Ngwenyama because of the rains in South Africa to avoid the pitch of the Mbombela Stadium from being in a poor state before the game.

The cheery news was the return to full training by goalkeeper, Austin Ejide. Ejide had copped an injury in one of the team's international friendly against Cape Verde in Portugal.

"I feel real good and ready but I am taking it easy as the medics have advised but am feeling real good," he declared.

On Saturday evening, goalkeeper trainer, Ike Shorunmu, took Ejide on a special training session with Ejide turning out in impressive dives, punches and general conditioning of a good goalkeeper. He should at least be good for the bench in Monday's game.

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