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Keshi discusses squad selection for the World Cup | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, March 7th, 2014

When asked how he thinks the Super Eagles will fare at the World Cup this year, Stephen Keshi simply stated that although he has high hopes for the team, and is optimistic about their chances of reaching the semi-finals, he intends to take it one step at a time, and for now, is only concerned with ensuring that they get past the group stage.

MTunde Folawiyoany Super Eagles’ supporters, including Tunde Folawiyo, are probably beginning to wonder which players Keshi will choose for the World Cup. Whilst the coach has refused to provide any names as of yet, he has said that he will be limiting the total number of people on the squad; in a recent interview, he explained that bringing 40 men to Brazil was unnecessary, and would only serve to distract the team.

Keshi also noted that he had been monitoring the performances of his players throughout the African Nations Cup, and would be basing his final selections on how well each person played during the tournament. He remarked that he had been very impressed by how hard they had worked over the past six weeks, and that this would make it all the more difficult to choose the right members for the squad.

In a separate interview in Cape Town, just after Nigeria’s victory over Zimbabwe, Keshi stated that he would only pick a maximum of four people from the Super Eagles to join them for the World Cup, adding that those who are selected must demonstrate self-discipline, dedication and respect. He then went on to thank the Sports Ministry and the Nigeria Football Federation for their support throughout the Championship of African Nations (CHAN), and expressed his gratitude to the technical crew and backroom staff, who had worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of each match.

Although, for the most part, Keshi has remained tight-lipped about the players he intends to choose, he has publically stated that he is considering the Villareal striker, Ikechukwu Uche, for his squad. This should come as no surprise to fans such as Tunde Folawiyo, who are familiar with the Super Eagles’ previous matches, as Uche has played a pivotal role in Nigeria’s past successes, having been a part of the squad for both the 2008 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. In addition to this, he has also done well whilst playing for Villareal – during his 19 appearances for the Spanish team, he scored a total of 12 goals. Keshi has admitted that he has been following Uche’s career closely, and would be giving the striker the opportunity to try out for the squad when the time comes.

Nigeria’s World Cup plans progressing nicely | Tunde Folawiyo

Friday, February 28th, 2014

As we enter 2014, and draw ever closer to the FIFA World Cup, the Super Eagles’ are readying themselves for what will be one of the most important sporting events of their careers. Those who support this team, like Tunde Folawiyo, may know that travel and accommodation arrangements have been made, and a few days ago, Adamu Emozozo¬† – the Eagles’ new ambassador – publically pledged his support for the team.

Emozozo expressed his confidence in the players’ abilities, and stated that he would ensure that the embassy would not interfere with the NFF’s decisions regarding any administrative or technical issues which might arise before or during the team’s time in Brazil. Responding to Emozozo’s words, Aminu Maigari, the NFF’s chairman, stated that he and his colleagues were looking forward to working alongside the ambassador.

Whilst theTunde Folawiyo NFF appear to be very well organised in regards to the logistics, there are still many questions surrounding how the team will actually fare at this tournament. Judging by his recent conversations with the press, Stephen Keshi, the team’s coach, is well aware of just how crucial the next five months will be for the team, and has been going to great lengths to physically and mentally prepare the players for the tournament.

His overall outlook appears to be quite optimistic; he has stated that he sees no reason why they should not reach the semi-finals. He has also said that he intends to make sure all of the chosen players remain in the best possible condition in the run up to their first World Cup match, adding that he would be using the players’ performances at CHAN to determine which ones he should include in the final squad in June. As a fan of this team, Tunde Folawiyo is probably quite eager to find out which players have been chosen.

Keshi has yet to provide supporters with any clues as to whom he might select; however, sports commentators have speculated that Shola Ameobi and Sone Aluko are potential candidates. Keshi has made no secret of his admiration for Ameobi’s skills on the pitch, and despite the controversy surrounding this player’s absence from the CHAN tournament, it is possible that the striker’s impressive performance during the recent match against Italy may renew the coach’s faith in him. Aluko has also been absent from the Eagles’ training sessions and matches, due to a persistent problem with his Achilles tendon, but many people still believe that he has a chance of being in the final squad, provided he regains his previous levels of fitness.

Super Eagles victorious over Mozambique | Tunde Folawiyo

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Super Eagles’ supporters such as Tunde Folawiyo will probably be aware of how well the team have performed over the past year. Given how successful 2013 was for the Super Eagles, it’s safe to say that their fans’ expectations were high when the team entered the CHAN (African Nations Championship) tournament. Unfortunately, Nigeria got off to a poor start, with Mali defeating them in thTunde Folawiyoeir first match.

The Super Eagles’ coach Stephen Keshi, was quick to address the issues which led to this loss, ensuring that only the best players were included in the line-up for their next match against Mozambique. Whilst he expressed disappointment that both Benjamin Francis and Ikenna Hillary Paul would not be able play in this game, due to their recently-acquired injuries, he immediately selected a number of highly capable replacements, including Abdullahi Shehu, and Kano Pillars.

Despite his lacklustre performance in the Mali match, Chigozie Agbim was also kept on by the coach. This was a decision which was questioned by many commentators; however, clearly, Keshi chose well; Nigeria performed better than they have in several months, finishing with a final result of 4-2. Goals from the likes of Barnabas Imenger, Ifeanyi Ede and Rabiu Ali all contributed to this outstanding win.

The game did not begin well for Nigeria however, with Dario Khan providing their opponents with the first goal of the match, just 10 minutes into the first half. It probably came as quite a relief to fans like Tunde Folawiyo, when the Eagles managed to level the score seconds later, following a close range shot by Ede. Shortly after this, Rabiu Ali gave Nigeria the lead, after he kicked the ball into the net from 20 yards.

But the Eagles’ allowed these early successes to go their heads, and their complacency resulted in Alberto Diogo equalising in the 20th minute. No further goals were scored during the first-half, despite several efforts being made by both sides. After the interval, Nigeria’s lead was restored by Ali in the 54th minute.

Not long after this, Keshi brought on the substitute Imenger; this proved to be a wise decision, as the forward gave the team the winning goal in the 88th minute; swiftly bypassing Mozambique’s defence, Imenger accepted a pass from Kwambe, and with a quick kick, the ball went soaring into the net. This was a much-needed victory for Keshi and his team, with the former having expressed frustration at their most recent loss against Mali.