Eagles Set For Madagascar


•Yobo: Won't lose sleep to grab a shirt in Lars Lagerback’s Eagles squad for 2010 World Cup.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will Sunday confront Madagascar in the opening match of the 2012  African Cup of Nations qualifying series.

•Yobo: Leads Nigeria against Madagascar in Calabar on Sunday.

The match, slated for the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar, Cross River State, will be Eagles’  first competitive match after their dismal performance at this year’s FIFA World Cup held in  South Africa.

Defender Joseph Yobo, who just moved to Fernabache of Turkey from Everton on loan, is  expected to lead the Nigerian team against Madagascar.

Caretaker Coach, Austin Eguavoen has all the 24 players he invited for the clash in camp and  are perfecting strategies in Calabar right now.

West Brom of England’s Osaze Odemwingie, a fringe player during Nigeria’s campaign at the  World Cup in June, believes the Eagles need to play themselves into reckoning once again.

“We players must give our best in Sunday’s match to redeem Eagles’ image both in the eyes of  Nigerians and rest of the world.

“The Eagles really messed up in South Africa and our poor performance was a wake-up call to  the players home and abroad. That’s why we have to rise up to the occasion and play a nice  match against Madagascar in Calabar,” Osaze said.

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Kalu Uche, who scored a goal each against Greece and South Korea at the World Cup, says the  Eagles plan to begin their Nations Cup qualifying campaign on a sound note. “We are in a new  mood to play Sunday’s match with the desire to win.

The result of the match will go a long way in restoring the pride of our nation in  international football. For me, I will always give my best and my expectation is to see our  country come tops after the clash in Calabar.”

Coach Eguavoen has challenged the team to play a positive game against Madagascar, saying  the players must have a winning mentality if they hope to start the qualifiers well.

Eguavoen is likely to maintain his regulars, meaning that the number one shirt will be  handed over to goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama while Yobo and Danny Shittu would pair as usual in  the center defense.

Chidi Odiah is expected to play against Madagascar along with Sam Sodje and the other  defenders, while Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel, Uche and Femi Ajilore play from the midfield.

The coach has attacking options in Obafemi Martins, Michael Eneramo, Osaze, Solomon  Okoronkwo and Ahmed Musa.

—Tunde   Oyedele

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