This Day (Lagos)

1 February 2013

Nigeria: Afcon 2013 - Ekeji Urges Eagles to Aim High

The Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Chief Patrick Ekeji has urged the Super Eagles not to miss scoring chances that will propel them to the semi-final of the ongoing African Cup of Nations in South Africa.

Ekeji gave the charge Thursday when he spoke with State House correspondents in Abuja.

The Super Eagles are currently preparing to continue there battle for the trophy having qualified for the quarter finals and are slated to clash with Cote d'Ivoire Sunday.

Chief Ekeji expressed optimism that the Eagles will play splendidly and secure victory over their opponents on Sunday.

Calling on the technical crew and the players to marshal a strategy that would guarantee them victory, the DG said: "I have told our boys that they must play for 90 minutes and I also advised that we need to take our chances. In football, if you have chances, you must take them because the team that takes its own chances and the other side that does not take its own chance, that's what makes the difference. So, my attitude is whether a referee is good or bad, let's just win.

"I can assure you that our boys are going to put up a performance that meets the challenge of Cote d'Ivoire. In a competition of this nature and at this level, you require a lot of strategic movements because all you need is just one goal to win.

"So, the objective of course is to win. No matter the strategy deploy by the opponent, our strategy is to win and I can assure you that at the end of the match on Sunday, Nigeria will pick the ticket for semi-finals."

On the performance of the team at the just concluded group stage, Ekeji was not forthcoming with an assessment but reiterated that what matters is getting to the next level.

"The objective of the first round is to get to the next round, we have moved to the next round without loosing a match. The defending champion did not loose a match but did not qualify. So, that is how these things are. Of course, we want to see elegant football, what matters in football is the number of goals you score to win," Chief Ekeji said.

He was also silent on the fate that awaits the Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi should he fail to take the team to the next round, saying "I am not in the FA, I am not a board member so I don't know what step the FA will take. We wish the Eagles the best, wish Nigeria the best."

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