Football Football

After Stars job, Keshi takes aim at Namibia


KESHI-KASARANINAIROBI, Kenya, June 7- After humbling Kenya by deploying three forwards to good effect, Nigeria head coach, Stephen Keshi, maintained he would not change the system when they face Namibia in their next 2014 World Cup qualifier next week.

He also stressed they are not thinking of the forthcoming FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil at the moment as they seek to secure their passage to the final knock-out phase of Africa’s qualifier by finishing top of Group F.

“With due respect to the Kenya team, we know that they had great individual players and we had to be cautious in what we did. Our strategy was to sturdy them for the first ten minutes and see how they come out,” Keshi said in Nairobi on Thursday.

“It was much better for us than what they did in Calabar because everybody was behind but here, they tried to open a little bit, not much and we said well, it was time to attack and that is what they did.”

The Africa Cup winning coach and former Super Eagles captain explained how he masterminded the 1-0 win over host Kenya on Wednesday that left Nigeria top of the pool on eight points, two clear of Malawi who were held to a 0-0 draw by Namibia in Blantyre.

Victory over Namibia will leave them needing only a draw in their last match against Malawi to finish top of the round robin qualifiers ahead of the knock-out phase in September as Keshi seeks to return Nigeria to the World Cup.

In Nairobi, Keshi deployed Ahmed Musa, Brown Ideye and Nnamdi Oduamadi in a three-pronged attack to counter the hosts’ formation where Kepha Aswani was the lone main striker with Francis Kahata supporting from the flanks.

“Nigeria play 4-3-3 and it has worked well for us so far so there is no need to change that, I hope to continue. We have three points to play for against Namibia and I’m happy we were fortunate to get the goal and that is our focus, not the Confederation Cup,” Keshi said.

“Namibia game will be different to what we had here. I think Kenya are strong individually but we shall see how it goes. We shall still play our game, develop from the behind to the flank and finish,” he added.

He hailed his players for pulling off victory at the backyard of the team that frustrated them to a 1-1 draw at home on March 23 when they clashed for the first time in these qualifiers.

“They played according to instruction and it was good, we were just waiting for the chance to go forward. The win was very important and winning in Kenya is a plus since it gave us great mileage especially that Malawi and Namibia played 0-0.”

“My players have a great discipline level, very focused and so far, it is working.”

The tactician said missing injured Chelsea forward, Victor Moses and Spartak Moscow striker, Emmanuel Emenike did not affect his team.