Keshi, Vidigal Salute Gritty Display


Super Eagles Stephen Keshi and his Pelanca Negras counterpart, Lito Vidigal, were full of praise for their teams and particularly the Nigerian side after the goalless draw at the Abuja National Stadium on Wednesday.

Vidigal who spoke first said he was right when he fielded his strongest squad against Nigeria , because any team that Nigeria presents in any competitive games was always going to be difficult to beat.

“We had to change tactics when we saw that the team was stronger than we thought but I’m happy that we came away with a draw against a Nigerian side as big and determined as the one we saw today. It’s still shocking that the team did not make it to the Nations Cup.

On his part, Keshi said he was satisfied with the performance of his players but expected victory from them.

“We were a little bit wasteful with the chances we had and that is why I will always say we are rebuilding, refocusing and pumping confidence into the boys. Nigerians will start seeing the result very soon, but they must be patient with the boys, because they are still growing.

The Eagles depart Nigeria for Liberia for another international friendly against that country’s national team on Friday, while the Angolans have since departed Abuja for Nations up hostilities in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea .

The game started on a rather tense note with the visiting team dictating the early part of the game. As expected, dangermen, Manucho spotting number 9 jersey and Flavio, in jersey 16, led the assault against the Eagles which caused Coach Keshi to rise to his feet after barely five minutes of kick-off.

The blitz fizzled out as quick as it came as the trio of Sunday Mba, Ossai Uche and Obinna Nwachuckwu seized the initiative from the midfield from the Angolans.

Petit Rangers International left wing star, Ejike Ozoenyi, was the star of the game as his dazzling run down the left flank, got fans asking for more.

Ossai Uche missed a clear chance in the 12 minutes, Mba followed suit in the 34th and Obinna blasted away in the 42nd. By now it was obvious who the better side was.

The half ended goalless.

Things didn’t turn better for both sides in the second, but the home side looked the more enterprising, as Angola looked like a side that did not want to lose a game before the start of hostilities in the Nations Cup.

Coach Vidigal, was forced to pull out Manucho when he was arrested by the Nigerian centre back duo of Papa Idris and Azubuike Egwueke.

While striker Uche Kalu who stepped in for Kabir Umar and Barnabas Imenger, missed glaring chances in the closing stages of the entertaining encounter watched by close to 10, 000 Nigerians soccer fans.

To most soccer fans, it was a fair result as they hailed Keshi and his crew for a job well done under three weeks.
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