KESHI: ‘NO MORE AUTOMATIC SHIRTS!’
Posted: Aug 11, 2012
Super Eagles coach warns players to earn their places
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT AGAINST NIGER
“The outcome of the match is not really what I want or am looking for. But I am not going to Niger to say I want to lose, no we don’t want that. We are building a team with different mentality, the mentality of winning matches and playing good football. That is what we are trying to build here. We are not going out there (in Niger Republic) to lose, we don’t want that. Our focus is that the team plays the right way we want them to play against Liberia and getting the formation right and also building the self confidence. Self esteem is very crucial for us in the team.
RE-BUILDING WITH HOME BOYS
The home based players are starting to get used to the picture or the vision of where we are going, just like the professionals are beginning to know my philosophy. The three weeks that we spent together last June have afforded them the opportunity of seeing where we are going to. We talked about it. I told them this is my vision for the team and they told me, Coach let’s go, we can do it. I was very impressed with their attitude when they came in June and their professionalism too was good. I can never ask for more than that. The discipline level was so high and the atmosphere in camp was good too. If only we can keep this momentum going and the players knowing that it is not about holidays in national team but about the players being committed and giving 100 percent, I think we get to where we are going. I think we are in the right direction.
SCOUTING PLAYERS ABROAD
I have said it severally that I cannot beg any player to play for his country. I have not gone to Europe to sound out players because I feel any Nigerian footballer abroad should be looking forward to playing for his country. I will always invite any Nigerian player to come and play for his country if he shows the zeal, commitment and hunger to play. Players should look forward to upcoming matches and discuss it with their coaches, by doing so, the coaches would know their readiness to play.
WHERE DO THE FOREIGN BASED PLAYERS STAND HERE
When we were growing up here the bulk of the Super Eagles team was home based. We had the Nwokocha, the Chidozie, Olumide, the Atuegbu brothers and the rest that came in from other overseas countries to play, but the majority of players of the Super Eagles were here in Nigeria with the likes of Christian Chukwu, Felix Owolabi, Segun Odegbami, Adokie Amesimaka and late Mudashiru Lawal who represented the home front. It is the same thing we are saying here. This is also to help our league because the more we have home based players, the better for us. This is the basic thing all over the world. When you have a national team and you do not have home based players in it, then there is a problem. Our foreign based players are good and they would continue to be invited if they are committed and do well at their clubs.
THE EFFECT OF HOME BASED EAGLES ON THE LEAGUE
The coming of home based players in the Eagles has added value to our league because the more we have home based players, the better for Nigerian football. We need a strong league to have a strong Eagles and if we rely solely on foreign based, we can as well abolish the league in Nigeria and face the professionals out there. Then what do we have, there will be no foundation for our football and everything will be over. We have talents and potentials here in Nigeria and all we have to do is to prepare a better program and follow it. The beginning might be very tough but as the time goes by they will improve and begin to get that needed confidence and their technical level will come up and it will be obvious in play”.
ON HONOURING INVITATIONS
Every player I have talked to has said, coach we want to come. It is a good thing to hear this and to see them in action. The league is going to start on August 18th in England and some have already commenced their leagues in Europe but I don’t think there is going to be a problem since the match will be played on a FIFA match free date. The most important thing is their fitness. If they are fit then it is good for us because the pre-season they are doing with their various clubs in Europe is to put them in good shape for the league proper.
HOME BASED PLAYERS NOT MAKING IT TO EUROPEAN CLUBS
There are so many clubs out there that are looking for these players even up till Tuesday but what I am doing is to guide them. They take the decision if they want to leave or not. So far they still feel that they have to finish their business of qualifying Nigeria for the 2013 Africa Nations Cup and they want to play a role in it. I understand that. But if they call me and say coach I want to go, there is no problem, but if they want to stay, no problem, my own job is to show them the (right) path.
BALANCING THE EAGLES
We have to find the fitting balance between the foreign and the home based players. That is what we have been doing even when we are not in camp, we have been talking to some of them. We have also been talking to the ones that are injured like Nnamdi Oduamadi, Joel Obi coming back, Mikel Obi and the rest and they are eager to come and play. We will see who is ready to play for Nigeria and give them a call up for matches ahead of us.
PLAYING ON ARTIFICIAL TURF
We play on artificial turf and most of these foreign players don’t train on artificial turf in their respective clubs. It is not their fault because every day they practice on grass in their clubs and it will be difficult for them to train here on artificial turf.
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