Keshi talks tough, says no automatic shirts for Afcon Eagles

The national team trainer has said that current form and not reputation will be the yard stick for picking his squad for the World Cup qualifier against Kenya

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi came out with a public declaration in Abuja on Wednesday that there is no room for complacency in his team and the players that won 2013 Africa Cup of Nations  would need to be very consistent if they hope to continue to make the team for the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

Keshi, who hosted Abuja-based sports journalists to the usual midweek parley, disclosed that the rebuilding exercise will continue but in a modified manner. He revealed that very few but quality players that could add value to the team would be invited to try their luck in the team.

He said that players like John Ogu and Michael Babatunde have exceptional skills and talents that he believed would be useful to his team, a reason why he extended invitations to the duo.

 The former Togo and Mali Coach also used the medium to reveal that he would continue to invite fresh but very few players into the team to make it a formidable and result oriented one.

“We still have some players that we have pencilled down for the next matches and we are monitoring their progress and later they will be invited to the team. Some of them had played for the team in the past. At least you can see that some of my reliable players are not here,” said Keshi.

“To start with my captain, Joseph Yobo is not here and that doesn’t mean that he is out of the team because he still retains his position as the captain of this team. Yes he has declared that he resigned from playing in the next Africa Cup of Nations but he’s still in my program for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

“Also injury cost Emmanuel Emenike from being here for the Kenya match. So we have our programs for the World Cup qualifiers,” he said.   

The former Togo and Mali Coach said he would continue to give opportunity to quality and talented players to prove themselves in the team in order to discover more talents for the Eagles.

“That is why I said the rebuilding exercise still continues in a way even after winning the Nations Cup. If we didn’t give players like Sunday Mba, Godfrey Oboabona and the rest the chance to prove themselves in the team, they couldn’t have excelled at the last Afcon.

“So what we are saying is that we are still going to look at a few players per time to see what they can do to make the team stronger and better than it is presently,” Keshi disclosed.