Nigeria Comes First, Not My Records – Stephen Keshi

keshiCoach Stephen Keshi has insisted that he is not thrilled about his record as the first African to lead an African team to the FIFA World Cup second round, rather he wants the Super Eagles to do well against France for a place in the quarter finals of Brazil 2014.

Keshi, who became the first black African coach to win the African Cup of Nations in 21 years against all odds, helped the Super Eagles to secure a place in the round of 16 for the first time since France 98.

There have been suggestions in some quarters that Keshi’s achievements in winning the Nations’ Cup and taking his team to the knock-out stage of the World Cup have not been given the value it should by the international media.

However, Keshi believes what is important to him is to focus on the game against France and not his personal glory, “For me, my team and country come before any personal glory.

“What is important is to focus on what lies ahead – not Stephen Keshi and his record.

“That we made the second round and are able to achieve this against all odds is all that matters”, the former coach of Mali said.

Nigeria will face France for only the second time at senior level in the ongoing 2014 FIFA World cup on Monday in Brasilia and the Super Eagles aim to equal Africa’s all-time best of getting to the quarterfinals of the World Cup achieved by Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana in 1990, 2002 and 2010.

Keshi said that this was enough motivation and the Super Eagles would give it all it takes to edge France in reaching the last 8 of the football competition.

“We are not bothered about the past but only interested in this present day.

“My boys know what I expect and our opponents will not make life easy for them.

“The Super Eagles have never made it to the quarterfinals, so they can make history of their own.

“There’s no motivation bigger than that”, Keshi added.

The last time Nigeria met France was in an International friendly in Saint Etienne in June 2009 with Super Eagles beating France 1-0, courtesy of a Joseph Akpala goal, but Keshi says it would be a different ball game against the Le Blues on Monday.

Nigeria Will Be Tough To Defeat – France Coach, Deschamps

Didier+DeschampsFrance coach, Didier Deschamps, has admitted that his team face a tough clash when they take on Nigeria in the last 16 of the Brazil 2014 World Cup in Brasilia on Monday.

The Super Eagles qualified into the second round despite A 3-2 loss to Argentina in their last group game in Porto Alegre on Wednesday, while the Le Blues of France played out a goalless draw against Ecuador on Wednesday to confirm their place at the top of Group E

Deschamps, who was impressed with the Stephen Keshi led side despite the loss to Argentina, said France must “fight” again to get past Nigeria to seal their place in the quarterfinals.

The France 98 World Cup winning captain believes Nigeria has the qualities to trouble any team and they must focus if they have to go past the African champions to seal a place in the quarter finals.

“Some people thought we were the kings of the world after beating Switzerland (5-2) but Ecuador showed they have qualities, and Argentina had a difficult match against Nigeria.

“Nigeria are a strong, fast team who have great qualities and it is going to be a really difficult match and we will have to fight”, Deschamps said.

Nigeria and France have only met once , in a friendly affair at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on June 2, 2009. Joseph Akpala got on the scoresheet after 32 minutes to help the Eagles to a 1-0 victory.