Super Eagles update: Day 3

The third full day in camp for the national team as they prepare for Sunday’s game against Namibia was on good time to dispel rumours.

This time it came from the office of the President of Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari and he said, neither the Federation as a corporate body nor top officials as individuals are putting any undue pressure on Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Mr. Stephen Keshi.

We gathered that there were cases of purported interference in the work of Coach Keshi by some persons in the NFF, including Chairman of Technical Sub-Committee, Chris Green, particularly with regards to Big Boss’ selection of players for Jumbo June World Cup and Nations Cup qualifying matches.

Maigari decried the insinuations on Wednesday, saying that the NFF can only support Keshi and the group at this very crucial period that the team is preparing for a rash of critical matches.

“The only thing NFF as a Federation can do at this period is to give Keshi and the entire team all the necessary support. That is what we are doing. I have not called for any inquisition into what he is doing or how he picked players for the upcoming matches, and I can assure you that nobody is doing anything like that.

“Of course, there is corporate desire and ambition for the Super Eagles to do well in the matches against Namibia, Malawi and Rwanda.

But we are not coaches and there is a limit to the moves that we can make.

“There is someone we have signed a contract with to deliver the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2013 African Cup of Nations tickets, and we have a responsibility to allow him to do the job the way he knows best and simply give him all the support that is necessary and germane,” said Maigari.

Keshi, who captained the Eagles for 11 years, leading Nigeria to her first FIFA World Cup finals in 1994, signed a four-year agreement with the Nigeria Football Federation in November 2011, with the understanding that he would qualify the team for the 2013 African Cup of Nations and the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.

The Eagles have, under Keshi, played a total of seven matches, winning two, drawing three and losing two, including last week’s internationalfriendly away to Peru in Lima.

Hurray! Lawal arrives

The only Super Eagle yet to arrive camp due to a mix-up in his working papers in Spain, Raheem Lawal, is expected in the country Thursday or Friday on time for the clash against Namibia on Sunday.

Super Eagles boss Stephen Keshi explained that the player’s late arrival has to do with the expiration of his working papers which has now been put in order with the assistance of NFF officials led by team Secretary, Dayo Enebi Achor.

Enebi himself confirmed the development and said whether or not the player will make the cut against the Southern Africa, now depends on the Head Coach.

After enjoying perfect support and hospitality for the first three days the team trained at the University of Calabar Sports Centre, the Super Eagles preparations for the World Cup qualifier against Namibia, takes a different turn as the team moves to the UJ Esuene Stadium Thursday.

The stadium located almost opposite the Metropolitan Hotel abode of the team will be flung open for the team to perfect strategies for two days before it steps out on Sunday for the clash against Namibia’s Brave Warriors.

Players, who were given Wednesday off training have been looking forward eagerly to training at the stadium, which will host the Namibian game as well as the Nations Cup 2013 qualifier against Rwanda on June 17.

Ugbe Tips Ejike, Moses, Uche For Excellence

Cross River Commissioner For Youth, Sports and Orientation, Patrick Ugbe, has said he foresees a splendid display by the national team on Sunday when its steps out against the Brave Warriors of Namibia.

Ugbe, whose so far played the excellent host to the national team, said after watching the team train at the University of Calabar Sports ground, that he was particularly excited by the skills on display in player like Rangers’ Ejike Uzoenyi, Victor Moses and Ikechukwu Uche.

“The team we have here is relatively young and I must say some players have been exceptional in training, though it looks like the entire team means business and the state government, particularly Governor Liyel Imoke like to invest in such teams”. He commended the seriousness, with which Keshi and his technical crew have been handling team affairs and assured that come Sunday, soccer fans in Calabar and its environs will troop out en mass to support the team.

Meanwhile, national team Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, has pleaded with soccer fans to be patient with the team on Sunday and even in subsequent games, if the goals don’t come on time. “Nigerians must understand that we are rebuilding and it’s not going to be perfect in a day or just one or two matches. What we need from them is patience and ofcourse prayers. On our part we are ready to give more than 100 per cent to ensure that the country returns to the top of football in Africa and one of the best in the world”, he said.

Eagles Receive Calabar Royal Blessings

The Paramount Ruler of Qua people in Calabar Municipality, Ndidem (Dr) Ika Ika Qua 11, has assured the national team, that traditional institutions in Calabar, Cross River State and indeed Nigeria are in support of the team for victory in their World Cup qualifier against Namibia on Sunday.

Speaking when a delegation of the Super Eagles led by NFF Director of Technical, Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme, paid him a curtesy call, Ndidem Qua, said the only thing he is praying for is for clement weather to prevail on match day and assured that the team with the support of traditional rulers will never play any draw or lose in any of its qualifiers in Calabar.

“It’s wise that you people have come to seek my royal blessings, because no matter how bad a landlord is, when you are in his house you must pay him homage. We wish the team and its officials well and we are certain that after we have appeased the land victory will surely be ours”.

The 72-year monarch harped on the need for discipline within the team as that is the hallmark of all successful sportsmen and women in history, assuring that he will give the team a trick he used in his playing days as a footballer, when no one was able to score against him from the penalty spot.

The team which had Eagles Coordinator, Emmanuel Attah, Team Psychologist Dr Robinson Okosun, Media Officer, Ben Alaiya and former Eagles goalkeeper, Etta Egbe, had told the ruler that it came to pay obeisance to him, since apart from being a revered royal father, the environ of the UJ Esuene Stadium and the Metropolitan Hotel where the team will play and is camped fall within his dormain.

Ikpeme assured that since the team still has another qualifier against Rwanmda on June 17th in the city, the NFF leadership led by Aminu Maigari, will still pay the traditional ruler, who is still an active golf player at his age a befitting thank you visit.
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