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The football federation seems to have set a target for Stephen Keshi and his squad at the continental fiesta that starts later this weekend in South Africa

Forget all the talk about the national team being in a rebuilding process, officials of the Nigeria Football Federation are secretly expecting Stephen Keshi to return home with the Africa Cup of Nations trophy in February.

With more than half of the squad making its tournament debut, many had thought that it was an opportunity for Keshi to start a process of returning the country to the top of African football.

However, the administrators of the country’s football are already heaping pressure on the team to win the tournament at all costs.

“Preparations have been excellent, they have been given a free hand and there has been no interference from any quarters; we expect [Keshi] delivers,” Mike Umeh, vice president of the NFF has told Vanguard.

“There is a common parlance that says, ‘to whom much is given much is expected.’ My dream, and surely, I’m speaking the minds of my colleagues on the board, is to see Keshi and the Eagles bring home the trophy.

“It would not be enough to say I want to see them in the semi final or final. There is no other way of measuring had work than success. That means it’s the trophy or nothing,” said Umeh.

Nigeria return to the Afcon after missing out on the last edition in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. They are drawn in Group C alongside Zambia, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

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