Tuesday, June 3, 2014

2014 World Cup: Coaches hail Keshi’s 23-man list



Champion ..... Eagles lift their  Coach Stephen Keshi after the team won the Cup yesterday. Photo: AFPAbuja – Some football coaches in the country on Tuesday in Abuja expressed satisfaction with the Super Eagles’ 23-man list coach Stephen Keshi has submitted for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The list was released by the head coach, Stephen Keshi, late on Monday in Philadelphia, the U.S. where the team is camping.
The coaches, who spoke, said the list was not a bad one considering the quality of the players.
Keshi had reduced from 30 to 23 the list of players who would represent Nigeria at the World Cup competition in Brazil.
The list comprised three goalkeepers, eight defenders, five midfielders and seven attackers.
Coach Peter Dedevbo of the national under-20 female team said there was nothing wrong in the list and that most of them were regular players Keshi had used previously.
“I do not see anything wrong in the list, because the players are regulars in the team, except for a few of them he deemed fit to call.
“I think Keshi brought in the new faces which he discovered could be instrumental to the success of the Super Eagles in Brazil.
“For those who were dropped, he has his reasons which are best known to him. Because he (Keshi) wants to succeed and will love to go with the best legs, so he won’t work against himself.
“And for those he selected, I am confident they will not disappoint Nigerians,’’ Dedevbo said.
Also, a former Assistant Coach of the national under-20 male team, Abimbola Samuel, said he believed that the team would excel with the calibre of players selected.
He said the list was a manifestation of developing youth football in the country with the inclusion of three former under-17 players.
“Coach Keshi knows what he wants and he has been given the opportunity to make the selection, so we must respect his decision.
“I am exceedingly happy that our youth football is paying off now, seeing three former under-17 players, Ramon Azeez, Kenneth Omeruo and Ogenyi Onazi making the trip to Brazil.
“In all, I am satisfied with the list and I wish them the best,’’ Samuel said.
In his reaction, Abdullatif Yusuf, a goalkeeper trainer in the national under-17 female team, said the players were the best the coach could pick.
“I am sure that all the players picked in the different departments are the best Keshi could pick and expect to give us results.
“They are young players and the coach has seen them all, and he cannot select players who will not give him results because he will not want to fail.
“He has seen them all and I am sure he picked them based on what they can deliver in line with his philosophy of play,’’ he said.
Similarly, Erasmus Onuh, a former coach of Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS) FC, said he was sure that Keshi made the selection based on merit and what the players could deliver.
“He has the exclusive right to make the selection and I am sure he did that on merit.
“We have seen players who performed excellently in their clubsides, but did not live up to expectations in the national team.
“So, the players he picked are the best players we can present at the World Cup and they are as good as the coach himself,’’ Onuh said.
Super Eagles have been drawn in the first round Group F against Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina for the 32-team tournament starting on June 12.
Nigeria will face Iran in their first group match on June 16, with the second match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on June 21 and the final group match against Argentina on June 25.

Nigeria squad:
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille/FRA), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva /ISR)

Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco/FRA), Efe Ambrose (Celtic/SCO), Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor/TUR), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough/ENG), Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod FC/ISR), Joseph Yobo (Norwich City/ENG), Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars)
Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea/ENG), Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio/ITA), Gabriel Reuben (Beveren/BEL), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge/BEL), Ramon Azeez (Almeria/SPA)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow/RUS), Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United/ENG), Victor Moses (Chelsea/ENG), Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce/TUR), Peter Odemwingie, (Stoke City/ENG), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen/NED), Babatunde Michael (Volyn/UKR)
* Squad lists are only official once they have been confirmed and published by FIFA