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Football stakeholders hail Keshi

21 December 2012, 14:03

Lagos - Some football stakeholders on Friday applauded the massive invitation of 23 home-based players to the Super Eagles camp by coach Stephen Keshi, ahead of the buildup for the 2013 AFCON.

The stakeholders, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Lagos, said that the invitation would expose the players to opportunities they had not planned for.

NAN reports that the 23 invited home-based players are currently being put through their paces by the Keshi-led technical crew.

The team is expected to depart for Faro, Portugal on Dec. 27 for the final phase of their preparation for the 2013 AFCON in South Africa.

Mutiu Adepoju, a former Super Eagles midfielder, said it would afford the players the chance to fight for a shirt with their foreign-based colleagues on an equal footing.

He also said that the country should expect the best from the team in South Africa next year.

"We have quality players in our league and they should be part of the Eagles. We expect the best from our team and they will certainly go far," Adepoju said.

Friday Ekpo, another former Super Eagles midfielder, said that the invitation of the home-based players was a welcome development for the growth of football in the country.

Ekpo, who plied his trade as a player with the defunct Abiola Babes FC of Abeokuta and Shell FC of Libreville, Gabon, said the development will improve domestic football.

"I believe Keshi has done a good thing by inviting some of our home-based players to camp for the Nations Cup.

"This shows that he believes in our home-based players and it will give the players the opportunity to fight for shirts with the foreign-based players," he said.

Teslim Fatusi, a member of the victorious Atlanta 96’ Olympic gold-winning U-23 team, said that the invitation of the home-based players to camp will broaden the scope of the team.

"Most times, the foreign-based players are preferred to the home-based ones, but now, they will have to fight for shirts with them," he said.

Meanwhile, Mozez Praiz, a television sports analyst, said that he was excited at the fact that a large part of the home-based players will be in the Super Eagles.

"I am very happy that our home-based players will be part of the team in South Africa," he said.

Emeka Nwani, another sports analyst, told NAN that the invitation will help the Coach to have a wide array of players to choose from.

"Keshi would be spoilt for choice when he settles down to make his final selection of players for the AFCON," Nwani said.

NAN reports that the Super Eagles are in Group C, alongside the defending champions, the Chipolopolo of Zambia, the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia, and the Stallions of Burkina Faso.

Group C matches would be played at Mbombela in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.



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