1st June, 2012
Chief Coach of the Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi, has told his players to go for early goals when they confront the Brave Warriors of Namibia in Sunday’s Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying match billed for the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
The former Hawks of Togo coach believes that scoring early goals against the Southern African team will go a long way to unsettle the visitors, as this will open the floodgate of goals in the crucial encounter.
Consecutive losses to Egypt and Peru in recent international friendly games have increased the pressure on Keshi and his team, but the former coach of Mali, who once captained the Eagles, said their target is to get early goals to put the tie away from the Namibians.
According to him: “Well, I have no idea about the Namibians. I am more focused on my team right now to ensure that we play well and also win well. We only know a little about those plying their trades in South Africa and Germany and hope to exploit this knowledge to our advantage, and we would want to score early in the match come Sunday.”
Keshi’s former teammate in the Eagles, Thompson Oliha, has warned him to be very careful in his team’s selection. He called on Keshi to learn from the experience of their former coach, Dutchman Clemence Westerhof. He urged Keshi to avoid experimenting with the team at this point, insisting that the coach should feature the players that are hungry to play for their fatherland.
“Keshi should not get his starting line-up wrong as this may be dangerous,” Oliha, one of the Coaches of Kwara Football Academy, KFA told P.M.News in Ilorin.
Meanwhile, Technical Director of Namibia Football Association, Klaus Staerke, may have conceded defeat to Nigeria, saying it will be a hard task for his team to beat the Eagles.
“The Super Eagles are a big team and it will be very difficult for us to beat them. Nigeria have many experienced players who are playing in Europe. It will be difficult to just overrun a team like that,” said Staerke.
He added: “Namibia are the underdogs in the match, but that does not mean we are here in Nigeria to lose. We are too small to qualify for the World Cup, that’s the reality. We are just trying to build a new team with a set of young players and ofcourse, anything can happen in football.”
—Adebobola Alawode & Bimbo Ajayi