Wednesday, 6 February 2013

NIGERIA vs MALI match preveiw

We are hoping that we can
make the people back home
very happy
” Mamadou Samassa
Mali forward Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi, who
was sacked by Mali in 2010, has
a fully-fit squad to choose from. Super Eagles midfielder Fegor
Ogude is available after a one-
match suspension. Mali, who have never won the
Cup of Nations, are aiming to
better their third-place finish in
the 2012 tournament by beating
Nigeria in Durban. Eagles forward Mamadou
Samassa, the cousin of the
goalkeeper with the name same,
believes success for the 1972
runners-up can help bring joy to
a country whichis currently troubled by political unrest. "Of course it is not nice to see
what is happening, but we are
hoping that we can make the
people back home very happy,"
said the Chievo player. "We know
that football can unite people and heal many things." One of African football's
heavyweight nations, the
pressure on two-time winners
Nigeria to succeed is always high
from Super Eagles supporters. But, with a relatively
inexperienced side, they
laboured through the first phase
and only clinched qualification in
the last 10 minutes oftheir final Group C game against
Ethiopia. However, expectations of a third
trophy, following successes in
1980 and 1994, have been
increased by theirlast-eight win against tournament
favourites Ivory Coast. Mali coach Patrice
Carteron: "The players have been taking it
easy. We had a physically taxing
match against South Africa, the
players need time to recover. "It's important for the players to
focus on our next match. But
first, we relax. "The target for us has been to
improve on what the team
achieved last year and so far we
are on course to doing so." Nigeria coach Stephen
Keshi: "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. "Mali is a football nation, they
have great talent. I have a lot of
admiration for Mali's team, for
the players. "It is a great shame what is
going on in Mali. What is
happening is something we
should not be proud of. "I know their players will be
thinking about it, and that is
where they are getting their
power from, their spirit, their
force. They are thinking: 'Let us
do this for our country' and I think that's where their force is
coming from."

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