4 January 2013

Lagos – Football fans on Thursday applauded Super Eagles 1-1 draw with Catalonia in an international friendly match played on Wednesday in Spain. In separate interviews in Lagos they said the match would help to boost the team’s confidence for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The friendly match was part of the Super Eagles preparations ahead of AFCON holding from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10 in South Africa. Joe Erico, a former assistant coach of the team, said he had always believed in the home-based professional players and was sure that someday they would form a formidable national team.

KESHI“Although we played a draw with Catalonia, what we just need now is for the coaches to brush up on the defence and attack,” he said. Paul Hamilton, a former Super Falcons coach, said the match was exciting, adding that it would give the Super Eagles the confidence to go far at AFCON.

He warned the players not to be carried away with their performance, saying that they should work harder to excel at the championship in South Africa.

“I think they tried their best in the game but they should not be carried away with that. They need to double their effort for them to go far at AFCON,’’ Hamilton said. Also, Joseph Dosu, a former Super Eagles goalkeeper, described the team’s performance as outstanding, adding that it was an indication they would do well at the Nations Cup.

Dosu praised Chigozie Agbim, the goalkeeper, who captained the team for the match, saying that his performance was a wakeup call to other goalkeepers.

“The boys did well and I’m impressed with their performance and confidence against a star-studded Catalonia. It is a sign they would do well at AFCON. “I must also say that I was very impressed with Agbim’s performance.

He showed confidence and composure and that’s a message to the other goalkeepers,” Dosu said. Sanusi Mohammed, the Director of Competitions, Nigeria Football Association (NFA), said the team did their best because they played against the best players in Spain.

“The boys did their best because the caliber of players who played for Catalonia is the best judging by their performance at the last world cup.

“We did well and we hope this will spur the team to further build their confidence,’’ Mohammed said. Mohammed said the team would still play a friendly match before the AFCON’s kick off in South Africa.

“We are thinking of one more international friendly match before 2013 AFCON and we hope by the time they play the friendly matches, most of the players would be exposed. “We are hopeful that Nigeria will do well at the championship in South Africa with all the matches they have played.’’

He appealed to the team to continue to be dedicated to ensure the country’s flag was hoisted high at the competition. Friday Ekpo, a former Super Eagles midfielder, advised that the coach should work on the defence and also try to sharpen the attack to have a formidable team in South Africa.

He said the team played well in the second half against Catalonia and noted that they should also play with African teams before the tournament commenced. In his reaction, Edema Fuludu, a former Super Eagles player, described the outcome of the match as fair and commended the defenders for coordinating well. “They just need to play together more so that they can blend well,” Fuludu said. (NAN)

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