This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria/Mali: Afcon 2013 - I Know Mali, Boasts Keshi

Shortly after his wards snatched the semi-final ticket of the Africa Cup of Nations from the grip of favourites Cote d' Ivoire Sunday night, Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, heaved a sigh of relief, insisting that he knows the Malians Nigeria will meet next in the semi-final stage.

"Ninety per cent of their current players used to play for me when I was the head coach. So I know what to expect from them on Wednesday," stressed Keshi who insisted that that knowledge was not enough for him to take them for granted.

He said they were good players and that the Super Eagles would need to be cautious as any slip at this stage could be costly.

"We are going to take every game as they come. We are not thinking of the final now but the semi-final against Mali. My knowledge is an edge but that does not mean we are not going to work extra-hard to be able to make it to the next round," he said.

Tambuwal urged Nigerians to intensify their prayers for the team and their handlers until the trophy is won and brought home to Nigeria.

In a related development, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha also hailed the fighting spirit of the team.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the Super Eagles' victory over the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire as a good omen and a sign that the nation will soon surmount all its challenges under the present dispensation.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement Sunday said the party was overjoyed that the players did not let Nigerians down, adding that the victory was an indication that Nigeria is already coming out of the woods in all spheres of life.

The party said the victory over the Elephants, who had in the past stopped the Eagles in the tournament, was an indication that nothing is impossible for Nigeria and that the doors have been opened for the nation to achieve other goals.

"The victory of the Super Eagles is a good omen. It is a sign of good things to come. The PDP sees it as a sign of a new beginning. It shows that we, as a nation can surmount all our problems. It is an indication that there is nothing impossible and that collectively we will overcome all the challenges we are facing as a nation. We will surmount all of them the way we surmounted the Elephants," he said.

Stating that the victory did not come to it as a surprise, the party called on Nigerians to always believe in the potential of the nation and urged pessimists to turn a new leaf especially as it has become clear that the country has already started experiencing a new dawn.

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