Despite having worked with Mali for two years, current Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said he will have no mercy in the semi-finals at the Moses Mabhida Stadium
“I am a professional and that is what I will be displaying tomorrow. I have a good relationship with them and they are still close to my heart but things have come to change, since we both want to advance to the next round,” said Keshi.
Keshi who played for Nigeria for over ten years, said he will be going all out and is happy that all his players are back from injuries.
“Most people are still not aware that Mali is a football nation, they love football and they have had great programmes in place which made them great. So playing against a country that is so passionate about the game is always going to be a challenge and requires you to be above their standards.
“All my players are ready to play and they are all looking forward to having a good run and make the nation proud,” said Keshi.
“People will always be talking and not everyone will like you. What is important is for you to stay focused and stick to your plan. When I selected the 23-man squad I knew that each and every player has a role to play.
“I wanted to create competition and that is what you are going to see even tomorrow, because players will not just walk into the team, but they will work hard to earn their spot,” he said.
Keshi said that having spent some time in Mali, has given him the edge, and he hopes to use that to his advantage tomorrow.
“It an advantage for me, but most importantly is that it will not be an easy game and I know that we need to work extra hard to win,” he said.