As more African players continue to find homes at top European clubs, it is becoming increasingly difficult for domestic-based players to break into their national teams. The CAF-organised African Nations Championship (CHAN) is put on to showcase players who are active in their local national championship, and that afforded a big opportunity for Ghanaians and Nigerians to play themselves into contention for a ticket to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. FIFA.com looks at some of the players on display at the African finals, which took place in 2010 FIFA World Cup host-country South Africa.
Keshi told FIFA.com that he had no hesitation in calling up Nigerian-based players for his squads. “I have worked with them. They know what I want, I know the standard I want them to be at before they can play. I have studied the players and managed to instil confidence in them. Once achieving those goals, they are ready to go, just like the professional players in Europe,” he explained.
Keshi said that he had been impressed with the standard of play of his squad at the CHAN finals. “It was good to spend five weeks together. These players are doing well and that is the bottom line. They will have a chance to be called up for the World Cup, though it is too early to name any names. That will happen closer to the time,” he said. “Nigerians expect a lot from the team at the World Cup, so we will have to work very hard and make sure we can make them and ourselves proud.”