KESHI: IK UCHE WILL DELIVER
Posted: Jan 18, 2013
Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi tells BAMIDELE BOLUWAJI that his team is well prepared for the AFCON after staying in Faro, Portugal. The Big Boss is also banking on IK Uche to score goals that will help Nigeria win the silverware after his Hat-trick against Farense
You have finally concluded your training tour ahead of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, what is the experience like?
It has been a wonderful experience for me and the players and I can tell you that Faro has really helped us to concentrate well on our preparation without any side attraction. We played a couple of friendly matches here and we were able to see the players and what they can do. It was really a great experience and we are hoping that it will translate to good performance in South Africa.
You played a couple of friendly matches while in Faro, how would you say the matches have helped the team to prepare for the Nations Cup?
We left with some players from the local scene and as at that time, we did not know who was going to make the team. The foreign-based players invited also joined us and in every friendly game we played, we were able to see something new in each player and also able to correct some mistakes. The results of the matches were not really important but the opportunity the matches gave us to perfect our team.
Nigerians were not happy with the performance of the Super Eagles against Cape Verde, did the result of the game bring any set-back to the team?
No, the result was not as important as using the match to prepare a better team. Fine, I know that Nigerians would not be happy but I am glad that it helped our preparation.
The Super Eagles have been having some problems about goal scoring but with the 5-0 win over Farense in your last build-up game, will you say the team has finally come over that problem?
Well, we all have to be happy that the team scored five goals in that match and it is a build-up to the AFCON. Yes, going by the number of days we have spent in camp, I can say we have come over that but we are going to improve on that as well.
How were you able to get over the Austin Ejide’s injury and how did you feel the night he sustained the injury?
Ejide has been very impressive in the Super Eagles and the injury he sustained was a big shock to us. But we are grateful to God that he is okay now and there is absolutely nothing to fear.
IK Uche scored a hat-trick against Farense, what positive has that brought to the team?
In fact, it was a big boost to the striking position and we look forward to him doing more in South Africa. I told him after the match that he needs to score more goals at the AFCON and he has assured me that he will do his best.
With the preparation you have had so far, do you think you are missing any player?
No, all the players we have can deliver the trophy in South Africa. We are not missing any player and I must be honest to tell you that these players are ready for the AFCON and the spirit is very high.
What do you look forward to in your first game which is against Burkina Faso?
It is our first game in the tournament and it is very important to us. We are not expecting anything short of victory in that match because it is a match that will give us confidence to win other games. We are really preparing for that first match.
At this stage of preparation for the kick-off, coach is there any team you are afraid of?
Laughs... No, we are not afraid of any team. We are going to treat all the teams equally and also make sure that they are not underrated.
What kind of support do you expect in South Africa?
I expect every Nigerian home and away to come out and support us. We have a mission and we are going to do our best to achieve it.
Does Zambia pose any threat?
No… not at all.
Coach, I wish you all the best.
Thank you Bolu.
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