Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Calabar attack awaits Ethiopia-Stephen Keshi

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will qualify for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil even if they lose 0-1 to Ethiopia’s Walia Antelopes in the second leg of their playoff tie on November 16.

Nigeria’s 2-1 win in the first leg in Addis Ababa on October 13 puts the African champions in the box seat ahead of the return fixture in Calabar but head coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi has dispelled fears that his players will sit on their lead.

Keshi insists the Super Eagles will “play our normal game” and attack the Ethiopians at the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar.

“We will play our normal game of holding on to the ball and keeping possession. We will try to enjoy ourselves and get the best possible result,” Keshi told

The trainer then discussed the first leg in Addis Ababa revealing the reasons behind the team’s slow start against the East Africans at the Ydnekachew Tessema stadium.

“We suffered a lot in the first leg because of the altitude in Addis Ababa. They had a plan to wear us out inside the first 30 minutes.

“That was why they started out the way they did. They tried to make us run all over the pitch and tire us out but these things are expected when you play away from home and in such a place.

“I had a frank discussion with my players at half time and we knew we had to correct the situation. We changed our tactics and the Ethiopians got tired after 70 minutes which made our job easier,” he said.

Nigeria’s last three internationals have been prosecuted by the same 23 players and Keshi also spoke on whether he will ring the changes ahead of the decisive second leg game against Ethiopia next month.

“Nothing has been
decided yet even though I am pleased by the progress of (defender, Kenneth) Omeruo following his surgery.

“I am aware some players (I invited for the last three fixtures) have not been playing for their clubs. I am monitoring the situation and we will see how it goes.

Since replacing Samson Siasia as Super Eagles coach in 2011, Keshi has not lost a competitive game to African opposition.