Windhoek, the capital of Namibia is locked in by the desert, with a serene and tranquil atmosphere that makes it your ideal holiday destination. But there would be no holiday atmosphere when African
champions Nigeria square up to Namibia’s Brave Warriors in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match on Wednesday evening.
Four-pointer Namibia are still mathematically in with a chance of earning the lone ticket from Group F into the 10-team African final elimination round, and will give it a fight against the in-form Super
Coach Stephen Keshi and his wards spent their fifth day in the Namibian capital on Tuesday evening perfecting strategies for the game, which also serves as the team’s final preparatory session before
the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup tournament in Brazil.
Six days ago, the travelling Nigeria troupe got the better of their Kenyan hosts in Nairobi, thanks to a late goal by Ahmed Musa. The Eagles are looking forward to a bigger scoreline as they been emphasizing accurate shooting and deadly poaching.
Wednesday’s tie at the artificial turf of the Sam Nujoma Stadium in quiet Windhoeh somewhat serves as the return of a 1-0 defeat the Brave Warriors suffered in Calabar a year ago, at the start of the series.
In that match, it took a late goal by Ikechukwu Uche for Nigeria to scoop the maximum points.
In fact, Nigeria’s four goals in this qualifying series have come late in their games. Midfielder Gabriel Reuben scored late in Malawi but there was still time for the Flames to equalize, and against Kenya in
Calabar, the match was three minutes into added time before Nnamdi Oduamadi saved the African champions’ blushes with an equalizer.
On Tuesday, NFF President Aminu Maigari told the players that early goals would delight Nigerians against the Brave Warriors.
“It would be great if we can get the goals early and then control the game the way we want. This is your last match before the FIFA Confederations Cup tournament and it would be wonderful if we can go
into Brazil on a high.”
Maigari spoke at the Eagles’ Country Club Resort abode as Coach Stephen Keshi and the boys looked forward to another victorious outing.
Since coming into the saddle 20 months ago, Keshi has not lost a competitive match with Nigeria. The only two losses, narrow indeed, were the 2-3 defeat by Egypt in a friendly in Dubai on April 12, 2012
and a 0-1 loss to Peru in an international friendly in Lima the following month. Both matches were prosecuted by home-based players.
“I am confident that we will achieve our objective of earning three points here. We have been training hard here since arriving on Friday and I believe the boys are itching to go into action.
“We have eight points now and can qualify with a game to spare, but we must work very hard as I don’t think the Namibians are a push-over,” Keshi said.
The Brave Warriors have been hit by the exit of their Swedish Coach, Roger Palmgren, 48 hours to the clash with the African champions. Football Association officials are nonplussed but have immediately put his assistants in charge.
Malawi’s Flames host Kenya’s Harambee Stars at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre same day, with the Eagles guaranteed progress should the hosts fail to win. Malawi have six points with Kenya bottom of the pool on two points.
After Wednesday’s match, the Super Eagles will fly to Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon to connect a South African Airways flight to Sao Paulo, from where they will travel to Belo Horizonte for their first
match of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup tournament, against Tahiti on Monday.
NFF 1st Vice President, Mike Umeh led a delegation of some top officials into Windhoek on Tuesday. There were also Chairman of Senate Committee on Sports, Adamu Gumba, two members of the House
Committee on Sports, Chairman of NFF Technical Committee, Chris Green, NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu and some top Secretariat staff.
A delegation of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, led by the
President General, Rafiu Oladipo has also arrived in Windhoek, Ademola Olajire, NFF Media Officer said.