Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, has issued a warning to his players, saying only the fittest will make the team as Nigeria prepare to face Liberia in the last qualification hurdle for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
Keshi, who featured as a guest speaker in the GTBank’s Tournament Ambassadors Programme in Lagos on Monday, said that invitation of players for crucial games would not be based on which clubs they play for but on current form.
He said, “I don’t think their transfer issues will affect their commitment to national assignments, but it doesn’t matter to me. If I could get players that did well from the Nigeria Premier League, I can as well get good players from China or anywhere else, as long as they are playing well.
“Even if a player plays in the English Premier League, if he’s not good enough to be in my team then I’m not going to give him a role in the Eagles.
“It’s not true that the Nigeria Football Federation insists on certain players; they will never do that. The NFF and I have an understanding on that. I am the Big Boss, I decide on who comes to play and who doesn’t. The NFF is busy with its job of getting us good friendly games, but I decide on the selection of players.”
The former Eagles captain said the team’s major problem was being unable to score goals when it mattered most, but assured that the technical crew was working on solving the problem.
“We’re working on that and we don’t want to think about failure, even if failure is part of life because we learn from it,” Keshi said.
“This is a group of players that we just started with. It’s true we’re not scoring goals but we’re creating chances. We just need to convert the chances to get the goals. Once the goals start coming, trust me, they will not stop.
“We just have to be patient; we’re working on it. We know the department that we have problems; success doesn’t come overnight.”
Keshi, who led the team made up of players from the domestic league to a 2-0 win over Liberia in a friendly game in February, said the encounter would have nothing in common with the Nations Cup qualifier.
“That game is in the past; it was a friendly but we’re not dwelling on it. It is a different game, and every game has its own unique outcome. This next game in September is totally different and we need to prepare, plan and organise our team. We can’t wait for Liberia to surprise us,” he said.