Super Eagles update: Rain doctor needed

The problem with Calabar is that its humid in the midmorning up until afternoon then it starts raining from about 4 pm until 10 pm.

That has been the pattern since I arrived in this Southern town of Nigeria.

How will the players cope? I’m asking this because I know it will surely rain on match day unless the Nigeria Football Federation go for the services of traditional rain doctors.

Rain doctors are those people in Nigerian culture said to have the ability to stop the rains from falling in a particular location or when it gets difficult for them, move the rain to another location.

Now if these rain doctors are called in, it won’t rain in Calabar on Sunday, or they can send the rain away to neighbouring cities like Uyo, Port Harcourt or even Aba.

But we will just wait and see. For me, I’m already preparing for a wet day with the Eagles on Sunday.

I spoke with the Nigeria Football Federation’s head of Technical Committee about the wetness of Calabar and if they didn’t consider that aspect of the town before they picked it as a venue and his answer was precise and straight to the point.

“This time of the year is called “Rainy season” in Nigeria and with Calabar being a part of Nigeria, we expect it to rain at this time of the year so we are prepared and we knew what we were up against,” Green said.

“Our only prayer is that no matter how it rains, let it be clement in the afternoon on Sunday.”

So we are back to the era of prayers and wishful thinking once again.

Anyway, one thing I have noticed is that Calabar has good drainages and the U.J. Esuene Stadium is not any different so hopefully, the Eagles get a good game.

No Starting 11 For Eagles Yet
The Super Eagles resumed training Thursday evening at the new-look UJ Esuene Stadium in Calaba, the Cross River State capital, with the technical crew giving nothing away on the likely 11 players that will start Sunday’s game against Namibia.

The training which started at about 3:40pm, saw the players involved in all manner of trainings, especially quick breaks, counter-attacks and blinder shots, before Stephen Keshi decided it was time for 11-aside .

Many had thought that will give away some of the players he intended to parade on Sunday, but that was never the case.

In goal he started Chigozie Agbim on one side and later he brought in Vincent Enyeama, captain of the side and first choice goalie. Towering Israeli based goalie, Austin Ejide, was all alone on the right side of the pitch.

In the defence, Godfrey Oboabona, Juwon Oshaniwa and Azubuike Egwueke, were thought to have won themselves shirts, but that was never the case as Gege Soriola and Papa Idris, who has just recovered fully from knocks were introduced on the side that many thought is the probables.

John Utaka, Victor Moses, Kalu Uche and Ikechukwu Uche, interchanged at will in the centre of the attack.

At some point, Sone Aluko and Sunday Mba also had their bite of the cake, while, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Ejike Uzoenyi, Obinna Nwachukwu ran the wings inter-changeably.

At the end of the day, it seems only Enyeama, is sure of a shirt, as Keshi continues to juggle his team, wishing for the perfect mix that should make the national team thick again come Sunday.

Keshi: No Pressures, No Must Win Mandate

Keshi has said that he was not under any form of pressure from any quarters to excel with the national team, declaring that despite that, excellence is his ultimate desire as handler of the Eagles.

“There is nothing like pressure coming from any quarters. Tension or pressure is a natural thing in life. When you leave your house for a function you are under pressure to do it well, when you are driving you are under pressure to get to your destination, so life itself is full of pressure of all types, but no NFF official has put me under pressure.
He added that he was also not under any pressure to invite any player, as that will have negated the contract he entered into with the NFF.

“All Nigerian players who are good enough should be rest assured that they are still members of this team, but for now, the 27 players in camp are the ones that I need, tomorrow, I may decide on new players for the next set of games”.

Keshi, praised the support he has been receiving from NFF President Aminu Maigari, noting that the Bauchi state born football administrator, has been a perfect gentleman in the manner he has piloted the affairs of the NFF. “No, he has not given me any mandate to win all the games I have because that may be impossible. But it’s my desire to win all my games, but you never can tell in a game of football”, he said.

Keshi also spoke on his relationship with NFF Technical Committee Chairman, Barrister Christopher Green, assuring that the bond is strong and united for the sake of Nigerian football. “I’m on the same page with Barr Green and members of the Technical Committee”.

Amuneke backs Keshi to succeed

Meanwhile, Tunisia ’94 Nations Cup winning hero, Emmanuel Amuneke, has said he believes that the Eagles have what it takes to not only defeat Namibia, but easily qualify for the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

“The team, we are seeing here is solid with a lot of experienced players, defeating Namibia should not be the issue but qualifying quick for the World Cup”, Amuneke said when he visited the team at its Metropolitan Hotel camp abode.

Four Eagles face the chop

Before another energy sapping training on Friday evening at the UJ Esuene Stadium, Stephen Keshi, dropped a bombshell while addressing the players.

“Gentlemen, we are supposed to be 27 players or thereabout here but this is a World Cup qualifier and by FIFA rules we need only 23 players, that we will do later, but please let no player take offence, because you will remain in camp with us.”

With those words, he tacitly announced that four players will be ousted from the game against Namibia, but he would rather not make it a public issue.
Some of the players, camp sources said already know themselves but they will still remain in camp and prepare for the next game against the Flames of Malawi in Blantyre.

At the moment there are two players for every department in the team, but the area of worry for the coach remains the midfield and he was as at Friday yet to make up his mind on those to anchor the area.

Though, Fengor Ogude and Gabriel looked prominent in his training set up on Friday, as many continue to hail the embarrassment of strike options available for the Eagles on Sunday.
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