Nigeria subdued Ivory Coast’s Drogba, Yaya Toure: Keshi

Ahram Online, Monday 4 Feb 2013

After reaching the semifinal of Africa Cup of Nations, Keshi thanked Nigerian ‘nation’ for standing beside him

Stephen Keshi
Nigeria's head coach Stephen Keshi, center, reacts to the final whistle of their African Cup of Nations quarterfinals match with Ivory Coast Sunday, Feb. 3 2013 (Photo: AP)

Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi gladly recounts his team's tactics during the match that qualified them for the Africa Cup of nations, confidently neutralising and eliminating powerhouse Ivory Coast 2-1 Sunday in Phokeng.

The Super Eagles secured the qualification tickets after Emmanuel Emenike and Sunday Mba scored for Nigeria.

"I want to sincerely thank my players for everything they did today," Keshi was quoted as saying on Supersport.

"The players showed character. It's the kind of character that I know we have in Nigeria. We always fight, fight, fight.

"I had absolute 120 per cent confidence in my players and we had to get ourselves ready for the game. We weren't going to come here and just give it to Ivory Coast."

Cheick Tiote equalised the Emenike opener, but Mba, plays in the Nigerian league, gave his side the lead again 12 minutes from time.

"It was not an easy game, we tried to speed the game up. We tried to cut players like [Didier] Drogba and Yaya Toure out of the game," Keshi said.

"We took our time. We spent four days just studying the way the Ivorians were playing, so we tried our level best.

"When Ivory Coast equalised, we tried to defend well and then we worked our tactics, we pushed our players to play and we scored again."

"I also want to thank my nation. The Nigerians that have been behind my team. I hope that we can go to the final," he said.

"There are a lot of possibilities for this team.

"Before we played against Ivory Coast, nobody gave us a chance, maybe 20 percent of people gave us a chance that we could do something."

"My team is progressing every game, there is great discipline in the team, I just hope that we keep that up," he said.

"I know that the players we have in our camp are the right boys that I picked. I just have confidence in them.

"There is no one hero in our team, everyone is a hero."

Nigeria will play Mali in Wednesday's semi-final in Durban. 

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO Sportsand on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports)

Short link: