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Stephen Keshi says his players lost concentration against Mexico

Keshi: We lost concentration against Mexico

Stephen Keshi says his players lost concentration against Mexico


Despite a lacklustre showing, the national team handler feels his side did well against a good opponent in Saturday’s friendly in Houston

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi says his team had a decent outing despite drawing 2-2 against 10-man Mexico at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas early Saturday morning.

A brace from Chicharito was cancelled out by a Brown Ideye penalty and a Gerrado Torrado own goal off a deflected John Ogu shot.

Nigeria played almost half an hour with a man more after Barrera was sent off for a deliberate handball. But the Super Eagles could not make their number count as they were bettered technically by El Tri.

Nigeria played without midfielder John Obi Mikel who requested to be rested while injuries kept out Victor Moses, Kalu Uche and Emmanuel Emenike.

Keshi tested the trio of Ideye, Joseph Akpala and Nnamdi Oduamadi as the arrowhead of his 4-3-3 formation with John Ogu getting his first start in midfield alongside Sunday Mba and Ogenyi Onazi.

The back four from the Africa Cup of Nations remained in their position – Elderson Echiejile, Kenneth Omeruo, Godfrey Oboabona and Ambrose Efe while Austin Ejide kept goal before he made way for Vincent Enyeama in the second half.

Nigeria saw a raft of opportunities go wide even as they had to cope with the pace of the Mexicans who played with verve despite being a man short.

"I think the boys were not that bad, they just lost concentration," Keshi told media after the game.

"Mexico is a fantastic squad with top quality players."

With two important 2014 World Cup qualification matches coming up against Kenya and Namibia in the following weeks as well as the Confederations Cup in Brazil, Keshi says the more important task ahead is qualifying for Brazil 2014.

 "To represent Africa in the Confederations Cup is a good thing. But the Cup is not our biggest issue right now, we have upcoming qualifiers with Kenya and Namibia," Keshi said.

The Super Eagles will be in Nairobi next Wednesday to confront the Harambee Stars in a must-win encounter at Moi Kasarani Stadium.