Keshi: Nigeria in good shape ahead of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers

The Super Eagles coach expressed his delight at the return of some of his players as the national team prepares for the crucial games next month

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi is happy that several of his injured players have returned to action ahead of next month’s pair of 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The Super Eagles will host Rwanda before traveling to South Africa as they hope to qualify for the competition in Morocco and defend their title.

Ahead of the World Cup, Keshi lost the services of Bright Dike, Leon Balogun and Elderson Echiejile before seeing Michael Babatunde and Ogenyi Onazi pick up major injuries in Brazil.

However, all of them have returned to training with some having made appearances for their sides in pre-season, much to to Keshi's delight.

"I am happy with the recovery rate of virtually all the boys," the 52-year-old told SportingLife. "Leon Balogun is okay now, and he is training.

"Dike and Ogenyi Onazi have resumed training with their clubs, same as Babatunde and Elderson Echiejile.

"It gives me joy, because it gives us the opportunity for various options. I pray that everyone remains in good health."

The 52-year-old is expected to sign a new contract to extend his role as coach this week and has already spoken about being in touch with the bulk of his team ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

"All the players are ready for the qualifiers. I am very much in touch with them. I have called virtually all of them and they have all expressed their readiness to honour the invitation when the time comes," he said.

"Our building process continues. In this new phase, we are now going to consolidate on whatever gains we had last time.

"The areas we had lapses, we are going to fortify them and be able to give Nigerians a very strong team that they can be proud of," Keshi said.

Nigeria will play their first qualifier on September 6 against Rwanda before traveling to South Africa on September 10.