Super Eagles head coach, Stephen Keshi, on Saturday in Kaduna said he would have reacted in a more ferocious manner if he was in the shoes of midfielder, Ogenyi Onazi.

Keshi said he is not going to blame him for his reckless actions that forced the referee to show him a straight red card, leaving Nigeria to finish with 10 men against Chad in an African Cup of Nations qualifier played at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna state. This is his statement:

“I m not blaming Onazi for his action. I would have probably done worse if I were in his shoes”.

“But we will likely miss him for two or three matches, because it was a straight red card,” he added.

Speaking on his team’s performance, he said he confident that the team would do well in future matches. “We are not making up excuses. Rather, it is a fact that this is a new team, and we will need to play together for some time to get things right.

“But I have a lot of confidence in this team, and we will continue to re-build in order to get better,” he said.

The Super Eagles had to overcome an average first half performance to win the 2017 AFCON qualifier.

However, a commanding second half performance however resulted in two goals to ensure the game’s full points at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium.

Keshi said the team’s first half performance was lethargic because he had three new defenders and needed to study their quality of play to make the team stronger.

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He however said the team’s defenceline was powerful and expressed the hope of working more on the team for proper blending.

The head coach expressed satisfaction with the team’s victory, saying they played to instructions, exhibited good discipline and did all they practised at training.

“The game was competitive, but I am happy we came out victorious because that will enhance our performance in our next match.

“In the first half, there were a lot of precautions, mistakes and anxieties. But after the half-time we had to make the substitutions, and those of Rabiu and Odion changed the game for us and led us to victory,” he said.

Speaking on Aaron Samuel’s injury, the coach said the striker had a muscle tear which he and his technical crew colleagues hoped was not pronounced.

“We can’t say much on that for now, until we have a scan,” he said.


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