Super Eagles’ boss, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, on Tuesday held a meeting with all the 23-man team for the ongoing Nations Cup in South Africa, aimed at refocusing the squad for the other matches of the tournament. The talks which was held at the training pitch of the Ingwenyama Sports and Leisure Club, where the team is camped was exclusively for players, technical officials and the team psychologist.
Other officials were at a shouting distance as Keshi and his warriors exchange ideas on how best to deliver the goods at the Nations Cup. At the end of the session, which lasted more than 30 minutes, Keshi and the players went straight into the business of the day, training. The coach was to reveal later that the meeting was aimed at ensuring that the team excel and was very positive. Striker Brown Ideye, urged Nigerians to keep supporting the team as they were focused on ensuring a good outing at Afcon 2013.
“We know the expectations are high but our opponents are not also sleeping, so Nigerians must be a little patient with the team”, he said. As training progressed, NFF’s President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, arrived withhis vice, Chief Mike Umeh; Media Committee Chairman, Chief Emeka Inyama, Finance Committee Chairman, Shehu Adamu, two other Executive Committee members and NFF’s Director of Technical, Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme, to watch the session. After training, Maigari took time off to address the players and assure them that the nation still expects them to do well at the championship, despite drawing the first game against Burkina Faso.
“We have confidence in the abilities of this team to do Nigeria proud, so we must go ahead and not only win our next game, but do so in style”, he said. Just as Maiagri was rounding off his address, Sports Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Hon Bolaji Abdulahi, called in and spoke to the players on speaker phone. Like a general addressing his troops, he told the players to forget the game against the Burkinabes and focus on their group remaining games as the tournament has proved to be one full of surprises.
“The entire country, from President Goodluck Jonathan down to the pepper seller in the remotest part of Nigeria, is solidly behind you”, he said. Keshi thanked the minister and the NFF’s president for keeping faith with the team and assured that they will not be disappointed. Team’s skipper, Joseph Yobo, spoke in similar vein, assuring that as professionals he and his teammates had forgotten the result of the first game and are looking for a better outing in its subsequent encounters.