Nigeria not taking Mali for granted despite favourites tag

2013-02-05 16:25

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After guiding Mali for two years, Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi believes he has the inside track on the Mali team.

Keshi’s Nigeria meet Mali in the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations at the Moses Mabhida Stadium tomorrow evening and Keshi says he has an idea what his team will come up against.

However, he still regarded the Eagles as tough opponents.

“It is a good feeling to be playing against them because I know a lot of them. We had a good relationship and I still talk to some of them but I am a professional and now my job is with Nigeria,” said Keshi.

He refuted claims that Nigeria’s Super Eagles were favourites to progress to the final, saying they would not take Mali for granted.

“We are obviously highly motivated after our victory over Ivory Coast but that is in the past. We have a job to do tomorrow and it won’t be easy.”

He said it was a shame what was happening back in Mali with the political unrest. He said this could serve as a motivating factor for the Mali team as they want to bring joy to their people.

“This could be the force driving their team because the people there don’t deserve to go through what they are experiencing now. They are wonderful people and if there is a possibility that I could go back there I will not hesitate.”

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