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The friendly match against the Catalans threw up interesting and positive features for the Super Eagles as they continue preparation for the 2013 Afcon

ANALYSIS
By Babajide Alaka | Deputy Editor

The 1-1 draw away against a Catalonia XI on Wednesday at the Estadi Cornellà El Prat threw up some interesting features for Stephen Keshi as he continues to prepare his team for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations that kicks off on January 19 in South Africa.

Goal.com looks at five things that was learnt about the team that is being built by Keshi for the tournament.

OGENYI ONAZI CAN BE PART OF A COMBATIVE EAGLES MIDFIELD
Though Catalunya had the majority of possession in Wednesday’s clash against the Super Eagles, a player like Ogenyi Onazi showed aggression, a quick transition from midfield to attack and a lot of passion.

The Lazio midfielder is now almost assured of a shirt amongst the 23 players that will make it to South Africa. Onazi scored a goal against Venezuela in November and provided the assist for Bright Dike on Wednesday.

So he showed he could mark for 90 minutes, pass the ball – which was a bit suspect against Venezuela and also showed his composure in transiting to attack – three qualities needed in the modern day midfielder.
KENNETH OMERUO IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR AFCON
Even though Solomon Kwambe did not live up to the very high standards that he showed against Venezuela last November, Kenneth Omeruo, his replacement in the second half of the game against Catalonia, showed he could cut it in a rarefied atmosphere as he combatively expressed himself on Wednesday.

The ADO Den Haag utility defender showed his maturity in closing down space and helped build the attack from the back. On occasions when he was caught upfield by a long pass, he showed quick recovery and composure.
BRIGHT DIKE WILL HELP THE SUPER EAGLES CAUSE
What a wonderful way to announce yourself on the world stage and what a goal. All the instincts of a good striker are present in this US-based player though he still needs to work on holding up the play to allow his midfielders join up with him in attack.

He showed good change of feet and produced a calm finish to give the Super Eagles the equaliser in a lightning fast counter-attack. Against the good teams, a team might not be able to create many goal scoring chances but the ones created have to be taken and that is what Dike did on Wednesday.

He could be the Super Eagles go-to-guy from the bench for attacking in South Africa.
HOME-BASED PLAYERS ARE GROWING IN STATURE

The wholly home-based defenders had to endure loads and loads of pressure but they showed a calmness that was absent in times past for Nigeria Premier League defenders – they were not rash in tackling and cleared their lines effectively.

Though they were not helped by the ineffectiveness of Fegor Ogude, the defence line led by goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim, Solomon Kwambe, Benjamin Francis, Godfrey Oboabona and Azubuike Egwuekwe did averagely well to warrant their inclusion in the final Super Eagles squad for South Africa.

STEPHEN KESHI SEEMS TO HAVE FOUND A WINNING COMBINATION
A coach is always as good as his last result and Stephen Keshi has showed in the last three matches played by the Super Eagles that his team is finally getting into the groove. 

His team is getting harder to score against which is always a good platform to build upon and his strikers are getting the goals which is giving the required confidence that the team needs. Keshi would have told his boys that the best result in their next friendly match against Cape Verde will be a good win and then teams in their group will sit up and take the Nigerian team more seriously.

The fear factor is what makes teams win matches before they even step unto the pitch and that is gradually being woven into the Super Eagles fabric again.

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