Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria/South Africa: Crunchy Bafana Tie - We Need Total Concentration, Keshi Declares

After picking their first maximum points in Wednesday's 4-2 triumph over Mozambique, Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi has said that his wards need a 100 % concentration and focus as they play host, South Africa in a make or mar last group game that would guarantee the winner a ticket into the quarter finals of the ongoing CHAN tournament.

After a disappointing 1-2 loss to Mali in their first game, the Eagles were again to trail 0-1 against Mozambique in the second half but they came back to beat the southern Africans who cashed in on skipper and goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim's floppy performance to draw level at 2 - 2 before crashing 2-4. Even as Nigerian fans in South Africa and back home castigated Agbim for his poor showing so far in the competition, Keshi came to his defence, saying that he should not be singled out for blame in a team game where some players also failed to score in front of an empty net.

"It's a team work and we cannot single out one individual for blame, otherwise we had a situation in the game against Mozambique when a player had an empty net and yet could not slot the ball in until the opposing defender cleared it.

"I have worked with Agbim now for two years plus and if he was not good he will not be here. We must learn to understand our players and forgive errors, especially as he is the last man in the defence and his own errors are easily seen by all.

"I am happy with the boys and the character they showed in the game (against Mozambique) mostly in the second half, I know that in the first game, the players showed stage fright as most of them never played under flood lights before and there were a lot of factors that affected them against Mali.

"Before the game, I told the players to go out there and play like they do in training sessions not minding the match officials and the crowd and so that was what they did in the game and we won,"he told Brilafm.net.

Keshi also blamed the Nigerian Premier League which is on break for the players rustiness, stressing that Bafana Bafana players are fit and well conditioned because their league is in session.

"Most of the teams here have their domestic leagues on like the SPL for example; and so the players are better in shape, the condition level is great but we are just starting because we have been out for like 3 or 4 months now and so we need to remain very focus," he said.

Also speaking on Brila FM, Free State stars of South Africa and Eagles defender, Gege After picking their first maximum points in Wednesday's 4-2 triumph over Mozambique, Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi has said that his wards need a 100 % concentration and focus as they play host, South Africa in a make or mar last group game that would guarantee the winner a ticket into the quarter finals of the ongoing CHAN tournament.

After a disappointing 1-2 loss to Mali in their first game, the Eagles were again to trail 0-1 against Mozambique in the second half but they came back to beat the southern Africans who cashed in on skipper and goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim's floppy performance to draw level at 2 - 2 before crashing 2-4. Even as Nigerian fans in South Africa and back home castigated Agbim for his poor showing so far in the competition, Keshi came to his defence, saying that he should not be singled out for blame in a team game where some players also failed to score in front of an empty net.

"It's a team work and we cannot single out one individual for blame, otherwise we had a situation in the game against Mozambique when a player had an empty net and yet could not slot the ball in until the opposing defender cleared it.

"I have worked with Agbim now for two years plus and if he was not good he will not be here. We must learn to understand our players and forgive errors, especially as he is the last man in the defence and his own errors are easily seen by all.

"I am happy with the boys and the character they showed in the game (against Mozambique) mostly in the second half, I know that in the first game, the players showed stage fright as most of them never played under flood lights before and there were a lot of factors that affected them against Mali.

"Before the game, I told the players to go out there and play like they do in training sessions not minding the match officials and the crowd and so that was what they did in the game and we won,"he told Brilafm.net.

Keshi also blamed the Nigerian Premier League which is on break for the players rustiness, stressing that Bafana Bafana players are fit and well conditioned because their league is in session.

"Most of the teams here have their domestic leagues on like the SPL for example; and so the players are better in shape, the condition level is great but we are just starting because we have been out for like 3 or 4 months now and so we need to remain very focus," he said.

Also speaking on Brila FM, Free State stars of South Africa and Eagles defender, Gege Soriola gave tips on how the Eagles can beat the Bafana Bafana, stressing that even though it won't be easy, the Eagles could triumph if they give a good fight.

"It is going to be a difficult game as South Africa will come at us but we should not relax and my message to the players is that they should keep on fighting for the ball, support each other and communicate well.

"I think if they can do exactly the same thing they did against Mozambique, I don't see anything holding us back from getting a victory," he said.

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