Following are tit bits from the Nigerian camp as the Super Eagles prepare to take on Mali Wednesday in the semi-finals of the 2013 AFCON in South Africa.
Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, has declared that he will adopt a more tactical approach to the semi-final game against Mali, assuring that his knowledge of the opponents would be an advantage.
Speaking at a press conference in Durban ahead of the game, Keshi said.' A lot of people are suddenly having a rethink about the Super Eagles that they now refer to us as favourites to win the game. But to be honest, I don’t know anything about being favourites. All I know is that we are playing a good side. I know 85% of the Mali players who played under me for more than two years while I worked in Mali. It’s not going to be an easy game, but we are here to play game after game till the end of the tournament.'
On the strength of his team, he said 'I have a well coordinated team, although we have been together for just four weeks. We did not have much time before the competition as we were coming on and off through the qualifiers. But now we have gotten to the point where we cannot afford to take anything for granted.'
One of the top scorers at the ongoing African Nations Cup, Emmanuel Emenike, has declared that he is not under pressure to score against Mali in Wednesday's semi final game in Durban. “Yes, I am the team's top scorer, but that does not put me under any pressure because football is team work.
“I have the support of my teammates, so I don’t have any fear about scoring or not. What is important is to play as team instead of individual effort. Since I am not setting any goal for myself but for the team to win, I don’t think I am under any pressure. A lot of attention may be on me, but I will just play my normal game for the team to win. When you are in the semi final, then you must put yourself in the position where you play for the team because the whole country is behind you and you cannot let them down, he concluded.
Emenike is the team's top scorer with three goals and on track for the golden ball award.
Super Eagles defence Trojan, Godfrey Oboaboana, has assured that Malian captain Seidu Kaita would not have it easy in Wednesday's semi final game. 'I know Keita is one of the top players in this competition, but we would not allow him to toy with us.
'Although this is my first African Nations Cup, I have played against so many big players and the mentality will not be different against Keita. You don’t go into this kind of game with fear or doubt about your ability. I respect him as a player, but you don’t respect anybody on the field of play. We just want to go out and play our game and qualify for the finals. We believe in taking one game at a time,' he concluded