As the Super Eagles begin preparation to take on the Eagles of Mali, Sport writer, Kayode Tijani, who visited the Nigerian team’s camp at Durban, South Africa, said the players are focused and disciplined.
In a telephone interview Mr Tijani said though the confidence of the players is high at the moment having beaten the tournament favourite, Cote D’Ivoire, the team handlers are working on making them concentrate on the match against Mali.
"I have never seen a Super Eagles camp where there is no distraction like this," he said.
Mali and Nigeria meet in the first semi-final in Durban on Wednesday, followed by the match between Burkina Faso and Ghana in Nelspruit later the same day. The Super Eagles Coach Stephen Keshi is basking in the satisfaction of seeing his controversial selections pay off.
"Somehow, the Nigeria fans don’t appreciate their players. But I know my team, I know their mentality. I know the boys I picked were right, I have confidence in them," he said.
Mali’s charge is being led by 33-year-old Seydou Keita and augmented by a team full of players with European league experience, particularly Ligue 1.
They have proven to have a powerful midfield and in Mamadou Samassa, Coach Patrice Carteron claims to have the best goalkeeper in the competition.
Samassa is likely to return from suspension to replace Soumbeyla Diakite, who was the hero of Saturday’s penalty shootout win over hosts South Africa in the quarter-final.