Nigeria won't be complacent - Keshi
The Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi has moved quite quickly and strongly to quell any feelings that Nigerians might have that his team will be complacent against Mali in the Afcon 2013 semi-final on Wednesday.
"There is absolutely no way we can even begin to be think we are favourites going into the match""I worked with the Mali team for two years and 85% of the players there now I worked with and know very well so there is no chance of us taking them lightly. How can we? This is their second consecutive semi-final".
At the press conference with him was skipper Joseph Yobo who also said "this is the semi-final so there can be no underdogs or favourites. every team at this stage know they have only 90 minutes plus and they will be in the final".
Fegor Ogude is back after suspension and is available for selection. Coach Keshi refused to be drawn on if the midfielder will get back into the team "we have 23 players in the squad and we prepare them all the same for every match. Who I pick will depend on the tactics we are going to use and we have to wait till tomorrow to find out."
Asked if he his knowledge of the Malian team will be an advantage he replied "I admit I know many of them and we have actually been in contact regularly since I left the job but for tomorrow's game I will be very professional and will do my best for my team to win. After that, I shall be back to being in touch with Malian players".
The Super Eagles' manager's position is always in question and the man known as Big Boss is probably getting fed up of it "I love this job because Nigeria is my country and I served the nation as captain for nearly 14 years so this is a special job for me. However, should things change in terms of outside influences I will not be worried about walking out". "Even if we win the cup, and the bad vibes continue it does not mean I will not walk away. Jose Mourinho has left jobs after winning trophies there."
Keshi also hit out on the desire of Africa football administrators to always hire Europeans "there is no problem hiring successful European coaches because they have pedigree and have shown they can be successful; what I won't take is when someone is hired because he is European even though his track record is not better than mine.".
Later the team trained inside the stadium for the semi-final match. All the players were present in the few times the media were allowed to watch.