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Football | Nigeria

Venues scare Keshi

Nigeria head coach, Stephen Keshi has expressed concern over the lack of a stable home ground for his team.

Keshi, 50, told SuperSport.com that the inability to have the Super Eagles play at a particular ground is "worrisome."

He blamed the situation on the growing trend of artificial pitches being built in most of the stadia across the country.

"It is a worrisome case that the national team no longer have a home ground of their own. Most of the stadia in the country have artificial turfs, which is not decent for the players. In my days, the National Stadium in Lagos was usually our home and we settled in there very well for our matches.

"Last time before the team went for the friendly against Egypt in Dubai, they trained on artificial pitch. But in Dubai, the pitch is natural grass and the players just had to adapt to it. If countries with harsher climates still keep natural grasses for their pitches I don't see why most of the stadia here (in Nigeria) have artificial pitches," he lamented.

The Super Eagles are billed to play one 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifier and a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Nigeria but the country's football federation is yet to name a venue for the games.

"I hope we get to know the venue where we will play these games soon so that we can just move there and start preparing and get used to the place," he remarked.

The Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna had been picked to play host to the matches but security concerns knocked off the facility in the northern city.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has carried out checks on three stadia with natural grass but has delayed its decision on picking one of them.

The UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar, the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan and the Dan Anyiam Stadium in Owerri are in contention to play host to the qualifiers in June.


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