5th January, 2014
Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance against Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes in an international friendly.
The match, which ended 2-1 in favour of the Eagles, was played at the Abuja National Stadium on Saturday.
It was to prepare the Super Eagles Team B for the third edition of the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa from January 11 to February 1.
Keshi told newsmen after the match that he was not bothered about the scoreline but how the players performed.
The Super Eagles opened scoring as early as the fourth minute through Ifeanyi Ede and doubled the lead in the 29th minute with Uzochukwu Ugonna’s goal.
But the Walya Antelopes got their consolatory goal through an own goal from Eagles’ captain and goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim, in the 81st minute.
“The scoreline is not important for me, but how key the team is in terms of discipline and tactical display, and I am happy with what I saw.
”This is because it was just yesterday that we did the drills and they could remember it throughout the 90 minutes. So, I am impressed,’’ Keshi said.
The Super Eagles coach added that the team met a good opposition who had been together for a long time.
“Their team (Ethiopia) is a national team and they have been together for a long time and they have experience, because it is the same team we played against in Calabar (during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers last November),’’ Keshi said.
He however noted that the Super Eagles were far from being set for the championship (in South Africa) and they needed to keep working on all departments of their game.
Ethiopia’s coach Sewnet Bishaw was also impressed with his players’ performance, saying ”it was a good game for my players and they played nice in spite of the scoreline.
“The purpose of the game was to gain experience and we have gained a lot. This is because both goals scored by the Eagles were from throw-ins.
“So, we have taken that as our mistake and we will have to work on that before the championship starts.
“Also, we will correct the other mistakes we discovered and build a very strong team for CHAN,” Bishaw said.
He expressed optimism that both teams would go far in the championship basically meant for players featuring in their country’s local league.
The Super Eagles have been drawn in Group A of the championship with hosts South Africa, Mali and Mozambique.