Says he is working on parading a strong team and a Plan B


Says he is working on parading a strong team and a Plan BSuper Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, on Thursday in Abuja justified his decision to invite 11 foreign-based players to the Super Eagles squad in preparation for the team’s upcoming matches.

The tactician said attempts at addressing the dynamism of football informed his choice of the overseas-based players invited for the team’s June qualifiers.

Keshi made this clarification during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, saying that the players were invited in a bid to have a strong team with two formations and a Plan ‘B’.

The coach, on Thursday, released the list of 11 overseas-based players to take part in the team’s upcoming matches.

The team will play Namibia in Calabar on June 3, and Malawi in Blantyre on June 9 in two 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The Eagles will then return to Calabar on June 17 to host Rwanda in a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

The list has two goalkeepers, Vincent Enyeama and Austine Ejide, with defenders Joseph Yobo, Elderson Echiejile and Ambrose Efe joining them.

The other six players listed are midfielders and forwards — Victor Moses, Sone Aluko, Fengor Ogude, Ahmed Musa, Ikechukwu Uche and John Utaka.

“The list is not about experimenting with the overseas-based players but about those who can give us what we want,” he said.

“We are trying to have two formations, and the major one is 4-4-2 while attacking and 4-5-1 while defending.

“We also have the Plan B, which is 4-3-3, and that’s why we have all these wing players on the list. Players like Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses can play in the same position on the flanks, while John Utaka and Ikechukwu Uche can also play on the flank and middle as well.”

Keshi explained that “all we want to have is a solid team, because anything can happen. We all know football is dynamic.”

The coach, however, explained that the choice of a new set of foreign-based players from the usual regulars was to give opportunity to the others.

“The list of the players to represent the country is not about big names, but about only those who are hungry for game and can deliver,” he said.

“It is all about who can give us what we want, who can play for 90 minutes and we also need to spread opportunities to our players out there.

“There are a lot of our players in Europe that can do something for this country, and we have been seeing them. That is why we are giving them this opportunity by going round, so that we will see what they can do. The so-called senior players are still on my radar.”

The players will be joined by 18 others from the 22 home-based team who will be in the squad against Peru in an international friendly match on May 23 in Lima.

On the large number of Nigeria-based players he would be using in the matches, Keshi said he had been very comfortable with the players so far.

“It has been very encouraging for us with the Nigeria-based players, as they have been catching up and we are now high up there with them,” the coach said.

“It will even be difficult for us with another set of players now, with the kind of work we have done with the present set of players.

“For example, in Kigali in February when we drew goalless with Rwanda, most of the overseas-based players with us did not understand the team’s tactical play. So, it is better to have and work with a set you have and which is already understanding what you have in mind.”

There are presently 25 home-based players at the Eagles’ camp, 18 of whom will leave for Lima on Saturday for the May 23 friendly against Peru.

Nnamdi Oduamadi, Gege Soriola, Obiorah Nwankwo and Raheem Lawal will, however, join the team there, and they will return to Nigeria on May 26.

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