Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has disclosed that his young team at the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa will surprise those who have no faith in the Eagles to deliver at the competition.
Keshi, who has been to the Nations Cup as head coach twice with Togo and Mali but crashed out at the first round argued that his players have potentials and they can hold their own.
Keshi replaced Samson Siasia as coach in November 2011 and immediately embarked on rebuilding a once proud team who, in 1994, were ranked fifth in the world by FIFA.
“I will always say names don’t play football and that is why we are now working with players who will help us do well. If these players are in the league at home, so be it,” he said.
Nigeria under Keshi have won six matches and drawn six in 14 games with their two losses being against Egypt and Peru.
Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has backed Keshi to make history as a coach.
“Keshi has already won this tournament as a player and I believe he can make history as a coach, too, by winning it,” said Mikel, stressing, “We have some great individuals and if we can bring all our qualities together and play as a team, we can make his dream come true.”
The Eagles may not be one of the favourites in South Africa after they failed to qualify for last year’s competition in Equatorial Guinea/Gabon, but Keshi says his team have great potential to do well.
“Many don’t know how good this team are. I see potential in them and they can go places,” said the coach, who qualified Togo for the 2006 World Cup.