Keshi: We will battle to the final

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Moment after seeing Nigeria secure a Nations Cup semifinal ticket at the expense of Cote D’Ivoire, Coach Stephen Keshi has  hailed his dogged  Eagles for their fighting spirit and strong character, in the 2-1 win at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Speaking at the post-match conference, Keshi, who was close to tears, said that there were lots of possibilities with the team, who play Mali in the semifinal on Wednesday.

While thanking God, his players and the media for the 2-1 victory over the Ivorians, an emotional Keshi, said that he was confident that his team were going to reach the final of the next Sunday.

Nigeria's head coach Stephen Keshi (C) celebrates at the end of the African Cup of Nation 2013 quarter final football match Ivory Coast vs Nigeria, on February 3, 2013 in Rustenburg. Nigeria won 2-1. AFP PHOTO

Nigeria’s head coach Stephen Keshi (C) celebrates at the end of the African Cup of Nation 2013 quarter final football match Ivory Coast vs Nigeria, on February 3, 2013 in Rustenburg. Nigeria won 2-1. AFP PHOTO

“I thank God for this wonderful victory. Sincerely, I thank my players for everything that they did today. They were simply great.. There are lots of possibilities for this team. I hope that we keep going this way to the final”, said Keshi, who added that the Ivorians brought out the best from his Eagles.

“It was not an easy game. We had to speed up at times and catch players like Drogba and Yaya Toure off guard. I am glad that my team is progressing. There is great discipline in the team and everything worked out well.

“Before the game, maybe 20% of people gave us the chance of winning but my boys showed great character. They fought and we are going to fight, fight and fight till we win something. When the Ivorians equalised, we had to push our players to play and not allow the heads to drop”, added Keshi.

On the goal scored by Sunday Mba, an home-based player with Warri Wolves of Delta, the former Togo and Mali coach, said that he was happy for the young player, adding that as a show of appreciation that he might kiss him.. He however added that it was not individual game but a collective performance that won the game for Nigeria.

“I am happy for Mba. It is not individual thing. We just wanted to win the game. May be, when I go back to the hotel, I will go and kiss him and say thank you”, added Keshi, who said that it was shameful that Nigerians do not have patience with home-based players.

“It is a shame that that  where I come from, we do not have patience with these boys”, he said.

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