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Nigeria, Venezuela friendly: Fail test, forget Nations Cup–Keshi warns

By GEORGE ALUO

Today’s encounter between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the national team of Venezuela in faraway Miami, United States of America (USA) may not be a competitive game, but the Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, has declared that it is not a match to be handled with levity.

He told his boys that it was not a match to be toyed with. Daily Sunsports gathered that the coach has, as a matter of fact, made it clear to the players that whoever fails to live up to expectation in the grade A international friendly should forget about going to the Nations Cup in South Africa early next year. A top FA official, who pleaded anonymity, revealed just before the Eagles jetted out to the US that what happened in tonight’s match would, to a large extent, determine those going to South Africa.

“The match against Venezuela is a big test for the players, we are happy Keshi is getting this kind of game ahead of the Nations Cup. And the good thing is that the coach himself is taking the game serious. He wants to use it to determine those that will get his nod to be in South Africa. Any player that fails to perform may not get another opportunity to fight for a shirt ahead of the 2013 Nations Cup,” he said. The match is the one that Spain based Obafemi Martins and Newcastle’s Shola Ameobi would want to use to prove to the Eagles’ gaffer that they are good enough for the Nations Cup.

Martins is staging a comeback to the Eagles, while Ameobi who has just pledged his future to the country would be making his debut. Keshi has, however, made it clear that no player will get automatic shirt in the Eagles. The coach said that all the players would be given equal opportunity to fight for shirts, even as he added that current form and one’s fitness level would be the watchword.

The coach stressed that Osaze Odemwingie, who like Martins, is returning to the national team won’t get any VIP treatment. “I have not promised Osaze a place in the team. There is nothing like a senior player getting automatic shirt. No player is bigger than the team. All those in camp will fight for shirts and what will count is ones fitness level and current form,” Keshi said.

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12 Comments

  1. Bond Boy November 14, 2012 at 6:14 am

    WELL SAID KESHI

  2. CHIEF R.OKOYE November 14, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Until then

  3. Oliveth November 14, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Keshi you are a good coach to have made such decision

  4. james odoememe November 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

    We are watching!

  5. Mr Edet S. Asukwo Ita. November 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    What a wonderful comment Head coach ” No shirt for any one be it senior player or junior player ; just prove who you really are “. Bravo ! How I which our Government can do so on all those prominent criminals in FG to be brought to book not by lips. Go and win the game My Head Coach . God is with you all , Amen.

  6. Emeka Godwin November 15, 2012 at 12:17 am

    We’r waiting

  7. Olawale Sholeye November 15, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I hope d corruptible NFF are listening n will not allow their selfish interest 2 bring shame again 2 our dear country @ d nation’s cup in SA come January.

    Coachie ride on n pick ur team on merit!
    Best of luck.

  8. Wisdom November 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Nice talk from.keep it top keshi

  9. War November 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Big boss that is a good one carry go

  10. Dr.Sonnie Opute November 16, 2012 at 5:32 am

    That’s really a great one from Coach Steven Keshi

  11. danjuma davies November 16, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Keshi you are a respected Nigerian player,which Nigeria cant share any history of football without,and also a succeesful player,,and you dont lack money even in ur playing days in from Africa to European clubs..my advise for you is to keep ur value as Nigeria has value you in the 80s and 90s…we love you and hope nothing will attract you to compromise on any player favortism,,but strict to perfection to make a good team to beat even the world champion..the kudos will go to Keshi and we Nigeria will be proud going world wide that we are Nigerians,,,i remember US 1994 team,powerful and real super then

  12. Victor osas November 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Pls head coach,tribe has notin 2do wth fotbal.if it is only ibos let it b,Not necesary if hausa is nt dere he ll nt complit.Rule dat out pls

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