Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Keshi Dedicates Cup to Local Coaches

Historic Super Eagles Coach Stephen Keshi has dedicated Nigeria's Africa Cup of Nations triumph to all indigenous Nigerian coaches, who were treated with lack of respect by sports administrators and fans.

Speaking after the Eagles defeated Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final of the tournament last night, Keshi said that he was fulfilled that his dream of putting smiles on the faces of Nigerians had come true with the team's success in South Africa.

"It is mainly for my nation. My dream was to make Nigerians happy. We are not there yet. This is a work in progress but I want to dedicate this to all Nigerian coaches, who have been praying for this. In Africa, they give you a job today and want you to win the World Cup the next day. This cannot work. You have to give local coaches a chance", said Keshi, who was not done with his indictment of football administrators, who he said were not patient enough with local coaches.

"To succeed, we need time and I thank God that all the years of waiting have finally ended. Our people do not know how to give you time to get your programme through. These things take time but people seem not to care about it. But I thank God for seeing us through", said the former Togo and Mali coach, who hailed his players for their great play and uncommon discipline.

"There is a lot of potentials in this team. I needed to push them and they responded. They were great as a team", said Keshi.

On what was going on in his mind with five minutes left to play, Keshi said that "many things were going on in my mind. I wanted us to score another goal but knew that if we did not score that they were not going to score because of the way my boys were playing. I knew it was possible because of what were playing".

Keshi said that before the team arrived South Africa that he told skipper Joseph Yobo that the Eagles were going to win the Cup but the former Everton defender did not believe.

"I am an optimistic person. Even if the world is falling apart, I still believe. I told my players that we were coming here to win because I had faith. The hard work was also there and that made it very easy for us to go for the Cup"

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