3 June 2014

Nigeria: Keshi Defends Choice of Michael, Nwofor, Others

Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi has defended the selection of the quartet of Babatunde Michael, Michael Uchebo, Uche Nwofor and Kunle Odunlami for the forthcoming World Cup on the premise that the players were very determined and hungry for success.

Keshi named his 23-man team for the World Cup in Brazil on Monday night after much delay.

The Super Eagles, will play Iran on June 16 before facing Bosnia and group favourites Argentina respectively.

Being their first World Cup appearance, Keshi feels the players will not be overwhelmed by the tournament's atmosphere because "they are professionals and will be ready to play out their hearts."

"They are good players, they are fighters, they want to prove something, they are hungry. I like to have players who are hungry, who want to prove themselves.

"Kunle is a good player, he is a utility player, who can play anywhere in the defence, he is committed, his work ethics are very high. I like players like that."

On the exclusion of last year's Africa Cup of Nations hero, Sunday Mba, Keshi said that the Bastia star failed to replicate the same spirit that saw him excel in South Africa.

Mba reported late to the team's training camp due to a visa hitch but Keshi also revealed his disappointment at a lack of hunger from him.

"His lateness to camp contributed (to his missing out) but outside that he did not show the hunger, the fighting spirit, we expected from him," he said.

"We have only two and half weeks to prepare for the World Cup and he was not giving us what we wanted.

"He was very relaxed and it was unlike him."

The coach remains confident on the team's progress at the World Cup despite that, 90% of the squad will be featuring at their first World Cup.

"We have that in many other teams who have qualified for the World Cup. If we don't give room to others to grow, how will they grow? We have to guide them and be there at all times for them.'

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