Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi has declared in Faro that the potentials in the present squad he is nurturing for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations could match the all-conquering 1994 squad which he captained to Tunisia.
The ’94 squad won the Nations Cup in Tunisia(Nigeria’s second after 1980) and also qualified the nation for her first World Cup in USA’94.
The 1994 Super Eagles squad paraded the likes of Skipper Stephen Keshi, Sunday Oliseh, George Finidi, Taribo West, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Dan Amokachi, Austin Eguavoen, Peter Rufai, Uche Okechukwu, Uche Okafor(late), Rashidi Yekini(late) and Emeka Ezeugo among others.
In a chat with Supersport.com at the team’s camp in Faro, Keshi said, “many Nigerians don’t know how good this team is. I see great potentials in them and they can go places,” adding that “in Emenike I see a player who can be like Rashidi Yekini and Godfrey Obaobona will grow in his position”.
Keshi said although the withdrawal of Shola Ameobi and Danny Shittu would not derail his plans for the tournament, he however, admitted he would surely miss Shola Ameobi. “He would have brought a lot of good things and experience because when he played with us in Miami for the friendly against Venezuela he was a brilliant influence on the pitch and in the dressing room.”
On the criticisms that trailed the release of the final squad for the tournament, Keshi said.”I just make sure I concentrate on the players and make them understand and buy into what we want to do. Nigeria is a place that you can never satisfy every person so we just make sure we do our best”.
However, Keshi agrees that his team is better prepared, unlike previous tournaments lately, “we have had no distractions. The NFF have been very supportive and we are just focused on the job at hand”
The gaffer said neither he nor his players were under any pressure to perform “I would not put any pressure on my players; my duty is to make them relaxed with high concentration levels so that they can carry out the tactical plans we have during matches.”