Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi assures in this interview with JOHNNY EDWARD that the African champions will rediscover their winning form when they storm Omdurman next month in continuation of the 2015 AFCON qualifiers. He also reveals contract impasse with NFF.
Coach what are the chances of the Super Eagles qualifying for the 2015 Nations Cup in Morocco after only one point from two games?
Well, we are not losing hope, we still have some games to be played and we will see how we come out better than the previous games we have played.
I know sir, just your views on our chances of defending our title?
Our chances are bright irrespective of the loss at home to Congo and the draw in South Africa. We know what we must do to get back in the race for qualification and with all the necessary support, Nigeria will be in Morocco.
But coach what went wrong in the home game against Congo?
Even as a player for the Super Eagles, I can’t remember the last time we lost at home let alone as a coach. It was so painful for me to lose a home game but we will make amends.
I really can’t tell you this was what went wrong but what I can admit here is that we lost and that’s football but we will make amends for the loss by qualifying for the Nations Cup.
We know where the mistakes occurred and we all saw that there were some improvements in our last game against South Africa, so we hope to build on that before the game against Sudan.
It’s always difficult to get three to four training sessions with the team because these players are coming from different leagues and getting them to play together and adapt, takes time which is never there.
That will stop because we have our backs against the wall and must win all games to stand a chance.
The game against South Africa for me also wasn’t any better.
Well, that’s your opinion but there were lots of improvements in the way we switched play but we lacked the cutting edge.
Does that mean the goals have dried up for your forward Emmanuel Emenike after 11 games for the Eagles without a goal?
His goals will come and I don’t think it is right for anybody to say that his goals have suddenly dried up. He has scored 15 goals in 26 games for Eagles which is a good ratio and I believe his best is yet to come for Nigeria.
We have two must win games against Sudan next month and taking you back memory lane coach, you were an assistant coach to Shuaibu Amodu when the Eagles defeated the Sudanese 5-0 in Omdurman in 2001. How optimistic are you about Eagles winning these home and away games?
First, I have to know if I’d be in charge of the games because talks of my extension haven’t reopened because we are still waiting for the new NFF president to open a discussion on that.
Secondly, there are no guarantees in football but we will strive to win and I believe that if we have faith in ourselves, we will come out victors.
When we beat them in 2001, it was with a different team with a different mentality and we must show hunger passion to win in Sudan which I’m certain the Eagles will display much more to win the match.
Would I be right to say that this sudden fall in performance is down to the delay in your contract extension?
Well I don’t know but I try to give my very best in the situation I find myself. It’s tough but I’m forging on and I believe this will come to an end when the new board is elected but i will wait to see how it goes. If we come to an agreement, yes I’ll stay. If no, I’ll depart but let’s see how it turns out when I get home.