Wednesday, 23 January 2013

MIKEL: We 'll make Nigerians proud

Mikel Obi has said Nigeria will beat Zambia on Friday to take a bold step towards qualification to the quarterfinals.

Group C is wide open after both opening day matches ended in 1-1 draws – Ethiopia vs Zambia and Nigeria vs Burkina Faso.

Chelsea midfielder Mikel, who posted a man-of-the-match display against Burkina Faso on Monday, said that they have taken the draw with Burkina Faso in good faith as they look forward to
securing victories in subsequent games.

"We are disappointed with the draw no doubt especially the way it happened, but we have put that behind us now and will strive harder to beat Zambia,” said Mikel.

“I am sure we won't disappoint ourselves and Nigerians, who should continue to support us."

Mikel, who is featuring in his fourth AFCON, said the Eagles were a bit naïve in the manner they approached the closing stages of the encounter.

He said he would have preferred the three points to being man of the match.

The star midfielder was injured and not available for selection when Nigeria beat Chipolopolo 2-0 in Kaduna in November 2011 in a friendly with goals from the Uche brothers, Kalu and Ikechukwu.


Chelsea star Victor Moses was left out of Monday’s clash against Burkina Faso because he did not impress in training and not due to injury.

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has claimed Moses is nursing a hamstring injury, but at the same time reported the player “has been placed on active training”.

But it was reveal that Keshi has really been far from impressed with the output of the Chelsea winger in training and so sensationally left him out of the Burkina Faso match.

A top team official said: “Yes, Moses had a slight knock during the match against Sparta Rotterdam and so did not play against Farense in our last game in Portugal.

“But it was a minor injury and ordinarily that should not have kept him out of the match on Monday.

“The main thing is that the coach has not been impressed by the player in training. Moses is not giving everything in training.

“The player himself has said he is better motivated in match situation than in training or friendly matches.”

The official added: “I want to believe that he would now have to talk it out with the coach on this and hopefully he will be available for Friday’s crucial game against Zambia.”

Moses, 22, was replaced by Ejike Uzoenyi in the second half of the training match against Dutch club Sparta Rotterdam.

He was also disappointing and so replaced in the goalless draw with Cape Verde.

It would be recalled that Moses has often snubbed friendly matches with his agent Tony Finnegan at a time demanding that the player should only be called up for competitive games.

EMENIKE: This is not my best!

Super Eagles bully striker Emmanuel Emenike said he has yet to hit top form even after scoring on his AFCON debut on Monday.

The Spartak Moscow striker powered Nigeria in front after 23 minutes against Burkina Faso, but he has now said there is a lot more left in his tank at this competition.

His goal and high work rate against the Stallions certainly justified his starting role ahead of the more prolific Ikechukwu Uche.

Coach Stephen Keshi has already tipped the former FC Cape Town star to match the exploits of the late Rashidi Yekini.

“I have never lost my self belief and I will still like to say that my best is yet to be seen. I will always keep getting better in the team and score important goals like this," said Emenike
The big centre-forward said the team were disappointed they did not beat Burkina Faso, but he demanded the focus should now be on Friday’s all-important clash against Zambia.

"It was not as we had hoped (draw vs Burkina Faso), but that is football for you. We don't need to be down cast, we just need to remain focused and work harder for the next game against Zambia," Emenike urged.

"The draw was not really what we wanted and not too good for us, so we must step up and we must show more character.

“We are still on course to progress to the next round.

“And I believe the draw with Burkina Faso will make us to be more ruthless and take our chances against Zambia.“

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

'SAD' OBOABONA vows to fight on

Nigeria's Godfrey Oboabona not happy with Super Eagles Monday’s 1-1 draw against Burkina Faso in their opening Group C game of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Substitute Alain Traore scored with the last kick of the game to peg back Nigeria’s first half lead through Emmanuel Emenike after defender Efe Ambrose had been sent off for a second yellow card. The Sunshine Stars ace was an instrumental force at the Super Eagles defence making most clear out for his pairing partner Joseph Yobo and inconsistent Elderson Echiejile, one of the flops of the encounter.

“I was sad, I didn’t saw the ball earlier in the box,” Oboabona stated.
“I think it was a fair result with regards to other result in the group. We won’t lose focus, and we will try to correct our mistake in the next game.”
“Burkina Faso were lucky, they never expected it but we blown away much chances which I think we must step up against Zambia.”
“Of course I am looking forward to keep the shirt and keep improving in the team and I believe we will prove it right in the subsequent matches.”
“I am not under pressure, I have been exposing to the games, and the coaches still believe in my ability and I don’t believe such errors will cost my chances.”
“I am still very much optimistic that we will qualify and go far than expected, and I will keep fighting on for the glory of the team.”

EMENIKE earns rave reviews

Emmanuel Emenike has won rave reviews for his performance and goal against Burkina Faso in Nigeria’s 1-1 drawn opening game at AFCON 2013.

The burly Super Eagles forward, who played in South Africa’s First Division with FC Cape Town before moving to Europe, got the highest rating from fans on’s Rate the Player platform.

The Spartak Moscow man got 29 likes and zero negative ratings. He was the only Nigerian on the night not to get any negative ratings.

The closest player to Emenike was Mikel Obi who got 27 likes.

Emenike was also at the top of another list recently. The story about ‘Emenike leads Eaglesattack’ was this morning’s most popular story across the entire MTNFootball website.

Errol Dicks, the chairman of FC Cape Town and the man who took Enmenike to trials in Turkey, said he is thrilled to see his progress.

“You know, he phoned me before the game and said ‘Chairman I am going to score today and kiss the badge’. Well, he did just that. I am so proud of him,” Dicks told MTNFootball from Cape Town.

“We have walked a long road together and he is like a son to me. I remember when nobody wanted to look at Emmanuel. No teams at all.

“So to see how he has developed and where he is today is such a wonderful story.”

Monday, 21 January 2013

EMENIKE leads Eagles attack

Russia-based striker Emmanuel Emenike is set to lead the Eagles charge for goals against Burkina Faso Monday night in Nelspruit.

Emenike is preferred to the prolific Ikechukwu Uche, who was the top scorer for Nigeria with three goals in the qualifying tournament for the 2013 AFCON.

The Spartak Moscow centre forward has struggled to fire the goals in a green-and-white shirt since he made his long-awaited debut against Sierra Leone in Lagos in February 2011.

However, coach Stephen Keshi rates him very highly, even tipping him to match the exploits of the country’s most prolific international striker the late Rashidi Yekini.

His power will stand him in good stead against a very physical Burkina Faso, who go by the apt nickname of The Stallions.

He is expected to now deliver with the help of the wing play of the tricky Chelsea star Victor Moses and the speed of Ahmed Musa, while Mikel marshals a midfield that also includes Fegor Ogude and Nosa Igiebor.

The defence is goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, fullbacks Elderson Echiejile and Efe Ambrose with the central defence pairing of skipper Joseph Yobo and Godfrey Oboabona.

Skipper Yobo said even though the Eagles are yet to lose at full international level to their fellow West Africans, he expects a stern test from them on Monday night.

“Burkina Faso are a very good side who can cause us trouble if we are not ready,” the Fenerbahce defender said at a press briefing on Sunday.

“This is the Nations Cup and every other team has a good chance like we do. When we get to the pitch, they would be up for it. We would also be up for it.

“It will be a big battle and hopefully we expect to come out with the three points.”

Eagles probable starting XI vs Burkina Faso 

Vincent Enyeama – Efe Ambrose, Elderson Echiejile, Godfrey Oboabona, Joseph Yobo – Fegor Ogude, Mikel Obi, Nosa Igiebor – Ahmed Musa, Emmanuel Emenike, Victor Moses

Sunday, 20 January 2013

IDEYE: We must be ruthless

Brown Ideye says Super Eagles will be ruthless in front of goals when they tackle Burkina Faso tomorrow at the 2013 Nations cup in South Africa.

The Dynamo Kiev prolific striker believes Keshi has the best material to clinch the trophy and a ruthless display against Burkina Faso could intimidate tournament favourite, Zambia, in their clash.

"We must be ruthless against Burkina Faso," said Ideye.

"We are looking forward to top the group ahead of Zambia and a ruthless display against Burkina Faso can make it real."

"It is absolutely going to be an interesting tournament and there will be lots of upset but the most important one us is to remain focus and be determine."

"We are on course, I believe something great will happen to us at this tournament, we wont be a push over. We have come to play and deliver for the pride of the nation and may God help us in the journey."

OBOABONA relishes AFCON debut

Godfrey Oboabona has revealed his joy in wearing the Super Eagles colors to represent Nigeria in his career, especially at the Nations cup.

The Sunshine Stars of Akure ace has been one the most consistent local player discovered by Stephen Keshi, named in the final squad to represent Nigeria at the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa.

"One of the biggest dream of every player is to be recognised by his country," said Oboabona.

"I'm very proud of this great opportunity given to me by the country."
"I know the importance of playing for Nigeria and all I can say is that I am looking up to bigger things in the team, especially now."

"I want to be remembered like Stephen Keshi and co, we have a brighter future in this team but with time we will be greater as a team."

The highly rated sunshine skipper spoke on Super Eagles opening match against Burkina Faso, confident that it is must win match to boost their confidence.

"Zambians dont respect us, they see us ordinary team according to their coach but we can change his mind on that day."

"We are here for the trophy just like other teams and I'm so confidence that we can shock everybody in the group," he stated.

"Reloaded EMENIKE": We are ready to fly!

Nigeria bully striker Emmanuel Emenike, says Super Eagles team is eagerly ready to fly past Burkina Faso  at the 2013  Nations cup match in South Africa.

The Spartak Moscow ace is confident of claiming three point in his first major tournament for Nigeria and stated authoritatively that Keshi's team are 'more than ready to prove their worth.

Emenike who has been silent on his goal target for the team in South Africa revealed that he's ready to help the team to a glorious outing when the two teams clash.

"We are looking forward to a victorious start," said Emenike.

"Beating Burkina Faso will boost our morals to tackle our next game.
" We are very much ready to fly the flag. We won't underrate them because they are also a good side, that is why they are here. "

" They are a great side with great players and it will be a big test for us but they know it will be difficult for them as well." Emenike enthused.

"When a team a like Burkina Faso have opportunity to play Nigeria, it will be as if they want to play Brazil or Spain, and that is why we must not underrate them for any seconds."

"Hopefully we can get the three points - and we're more than good enough to do that with the players we've got here."

South Africans already awaiting the Super Eagles striker as Cape Town FC fans ready to display a big banner for the Nigerian striker tagged "EMENIKE, the ultimate goal fighter"

However, South African based Nigerian citizens, Amobi Ebuka and Chukwuebuka Emmanuel revealed that the Nigerian fans in Cape Town will be ready to support the Nigerian team.

"Of course, we will show our support for Nigeria, we live here in South Africa but we are good citizens of Nigeria and we owe it as debt to cheer up our guys. We have a big banner for our guys, Emenike played here, we will support him, the South Africans are really waiting for him and it will be great for him to light up the tournament with goals."