31 January 2013

Nigeria/Cote d'Ivoire: Keshi Dismisses Elephants

Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Emmanuel Emenike of Nigeria shoots at goal during the quarter-final against Cote d'Ivoire in Rustenburg, South Africa.

Rustenburg — Super Eagles Head Coach Stephen Keshi has dismissed fears that Nigeria will be bundled out of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa in the quarter-final by West African neighbours Cote d'Ivoire.

Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire will square up in the quarter-final match of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg here on Sunday, with pundits tipping the Ivorians to overrun Nigeria for the semi-final ticket.

But Keshi at a post match briefing on Tuesday evening, dismissed the fears, saying both teams have equal opportunities of either advancing or crashing out of the biennial soccer fiesta.

The former Super Eagles, who praised his young squad for reaching the last eight at the continental soccer championship, said his target is not the Nations Cup trophy alone, but to produce for Nigeria a strong team that would last for years.

"We are trying to introduce young players that Yobo and Mikel will guide them on the field of play and give them more support to play better, because we are not only looking at the Nations Cup alone, we are trying to see how we can build a strong team for Nigeria in the next five years.

"We are looking forward for the game against Cote d'Ivoire. We are aware that both Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire will not have the second chance if any of them loses in the quarter-final.

"So, there is no problem here", said Keshi.

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