Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has praised the impact of his team’s character in securing a 2-1 victory over Cote D’Ivoire in Sunday’s quarter final game in Rustenburg.
Enugu Rangers’ Sunday Mba scored the crucial goal after Newcastle’s Cheik Tiote had cancelled Emmanuel Emenike’s first half thunderbolt.
“I sincerely thank my players for everything they did today. I hope we can keep going to the final,” Keshi said.
“Ivory Coast are the top team on the continent with lots of quality, so we tried to speed up play and try to catch out players like Drogba and Yaya Toure.
“I’m glad my team is progressing in every game. There is great discipline in the team and I just hope we keep going that way,” he said.
On whether his experiment working with players from the Nigeria Premier League has been rewarded with Mba’s winning effort, Keshi said: “The boys showed character. When the Ivoirians levelled we tried to defend and work out our tactics, and we scored again. Sunday came up with a beautiful, beautiful goal. I will give him a kiss for it.”
Nigeria will play Mali in Wednesday’s semi final encounter in Durban.
Sunday Mba scored the winning goal after Cheik Tiote had cancelled Emmanuel Emenike’s first half lead.