Vanguard (Lagos)

13 February 2013

Nigeria: Keshi Was Bold - Rufai

Former Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper, Peter Rufai has attributed Nigeria's Afcon success to coach, Stephen Keshi's boldness in team selection and his ability to absorb pressure and translate same to his players.

"They went into the tournament with so many people doubting their ability to achieve anything meaningful," Rufai said, adding, "but Keshi's trust in his players and the support he got from his technical crew was able to keep the players calm. They did not panic at any time, even when things were going rough."

Rufai who said he was overwhelmed by Super Eagles triumph at the continental soccer fiesta said, "I am overwhelmed because the victory has brought respect and honour to indigenous coaches, who hitherto were seen as not good enough for the big job.

Similarly, Rufai said by winning the Afcon trophy, Keshi has thrown a you-too-can-do-it challenge to his colleagues. "Yes, it will serve as a wake-up call to other indigenous coaches to further their training so that they too can be considered for similar appointments because now their nations can believe in them too."

The former Super Eagles captain also said that the victory of the national team, after 19 years of waiting has shown that "whether a player plays at home or abroad once you are good, your performance will speak for you.

It also reminds our football administrators on the need to develop our league so that we can retain our best for our league instead of losing them to other leagues that don't deserve them."

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