—Eagles boss wants Nigerians to trust his judgement
Super Eagles head coach,Stephen Keshi wants Nigerians to trust him as he hopes to deliver the AFCON ticket on Wednesday at the Akwa Ibom international stadium in Uyo.
Many Nigerians including football administrators and journalists have variously queried Keshi’s criteria for inviting players into the senior national team.
There have been insinuations in some quarters that Keshi collects ‘bribes’ to invite some of the ‘unknown’ players to the national side.
But the Big Boss has continued to confound his critics by churning out positive results when necessary and he has called on Nigerians not to doubt his judgement.
One of the hitherto unsung players he invited, Guangzhou R&F of China striker, Aaron Samuel has proved to be a quality addition to the national team.
The former 3SC and Dolphins striker has scored two goals in three games for Nigeria to shame critics who have questioned his pedigree because he features in the less fancied Chinese league.
His last-gasp goal against Congo in Pointe-Noire has now moved Nigeria closer to qualifying for next year’s AFCON in Equatorial Guinea.
“I just have to elaborate a little bit as is the case with Aaron Samuel who has done well.
Babatunde Michael is the same, just that he’s injured right now. When he first came, a lot of people were saying ‘Oh Keshi took money from these boys, Keshi took money’, which is very out of faith,” Keshi told Hot FM.
“We just have to believe in these boys because if you guys don’t give them the belief and confidence, how are they going to be the next Okocha? How are they going to be the next Kanu?
“How are they going to be the next Uche Okechukwu? How are they going to be the next Peter Rufai?” Keshi asked rather rhetorically.
“We have to give them room to grow and that is how football players develop. Messi didn’t grow in one day, he had a lot of room to build,’’Keshi said on Hot FM and saluted Samuel for living up to expectations.
“I am happy for him (Samuel). He has done well,” hailed Keshi.
“In my own reckoning, the Chinese league is even better than the league in the US. And it is not every player who is lucky to play for Barcelona or in Europe.
“I have been monitoring this kid for over a year since he was in Norway. The fans only have to trust that what we are doing is for the overall good of the team.”
Keshi has also vowed to keep inviting little known players to the national team as he has seen in the players what the ordinary eyes of football critics cannot see.
The Eagles manager, while speaking to Hot FM, revealed that there are two Nigerians in the Norwegian Tippeligaen that he is currently monitoring and will invite them when the time is right.
“There are two other Nigerian players that I am still watching. Good players and I will bring them in when the time is right,” Keshi revealed.
He added: “We also have to believe in these young players for them to grow into the big stars like ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Peter Rufai and so on.”