Bloemfontein, South Africa - Nigeria's head coach Stephen Keshi has hailed the country's home-based senior national team, the Super Eagles, despite its loss to the Black Stars of Ghana in Wednesday's semi-final of the ongoing 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa.
The teams resorted to penalties after playing goalless in regulation and extra time, with the eventual 4-1 result ending the dreams of African champion Nigeria to also lift the CHAN silverware
'This team has been about six weeks together. I am beginning to fall in love with them. And I know if I stay six months with them, they will become what I want them to be,' Keshi said at the post-match news conference. 'I salute them for what they did for Nigeria and for themselves.'
In his comments, Ghana's coach Maxwell Konadu expressed his belief that Keshi remains Africa's best coach despite the loss.
He particularly hailed Keshi for nurturing local players and exposing them to international matches.
'I do not think this game will change his status in Africa. I know Nigerians are behind him. They all respect him and what he has done with the local team,' Konadu said.
Ghana. which also reached the final of the inaugural edition of CHAN - where it lost to DR Congo - in 2009, will take on Libya in the 2014 CHAN final on Saturday, while tournament debutant Nigeria will take on Zimbabwe in the third place match also on the same day.