With the 2014 Fifa World Cup draw done and dusted and kick-off to the D-day six months ahead, Super Eagles head coach Stephen Keshi is most concerned with the task of raising a formidable squad for next month’s African Championship (CHAN) in South Africa.
As Nigeria braces up for a debut appearance in the tournament organised for national team players who ply their trade in the continent, the task of raising a good team in three weeks comes with its own challenges, bearing the recent departure of some home-based Eagles oversees.
The Eagles team B open their campaign against Mali on January 11 before playing against hosts South Africa and Mozambique in the battle for Group B supremacy.
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Nonetheless, likes of Godfrey Obaobona (Rizespor, Turkey), Izu Azuka (Kahranmanmaspor, Turkey), Tony Okpotu (Libya), Chibuzor Okonkwo (Libya), Alhaji Gero (Sweden) are some of the notable players who have moved abroad for greener pastures.
“We need to do a lot of work on the team,” Keshi said on a radio interview. “Most of them have gone, we have to get the team to go to South Africa and do well in three weeks. We must be ready.
“It is a big problem, but we must prepare well and be ready.”
Meanwhile, there is likely not going to be a Christmas break for the home-based players going for the CHAN competition, according to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) general secretary, Musa Amadu. The team are likely to train in South Africa for at least 10 days before their opening group game.