Eagles, Black Stars in semi final showdown

Eagles, Black Stars in semi final showdown

Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia remains unbeaten since taking
over the reins of leadership of the country’s national football team last
December and today the Beijing Olympic silver winning coach will lead his team
out against the Black Predators (Ghana U-23 team) in the WAFU Nations Cup
semi-final match at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta with victory already on
his mind.

“Our objective is to get to the final. It doesn’t matter if we
are playing Ghana,” the Nigeria coach said.

He added: “We are playing a match that we want to win, and who
we play against is not the issue.”

The Nigerian team, consisting of players plying their trade in
the domestic championship, is in the race to retain the regional trophy won
last year under the tutelage of former coach Daniel Amokachi, and also open the
account of silverwares for Siasia as Super Eagles coach.

Although the Nigeria team started their tournament campaign on a
shaky a note, beating Liberia’s Lone Stars by 1-0, they have since stepped up
their game as they were more convincing in their 4-0 drubbing of Niger in their
second match.

No easy progress

Though Siasia is not expecting an easy passage into Saturday’s
final, he is upbeat that his boys can continue their good run at the

“We can’t come this far and relinquish our ambition to retain
this trophy. Now that we have got more time to train, I believe my team would
give their best against Ghana. It should be an interesting match,” said Siasia.

On his part, Ghana coach, David Duncan, has already predicted a
tough duel with Nigeria as both teams already have their sight on Saturday’s

Ghana finished behind Togo in Group B. Togo shaded a rematch 4-3
on penalties after winning 2-1 in regulation time in this two-team group.

Ghana won the first game 2-1 and so the winners of Group B had
to be decided through a penalty shootout.

As a result, Togo will face Group B runners-up Liberia in the
other semi-final, also on Thursday.

“Against Nigeria, it could be anybody’s game. It will be a tough
encounter as it is a derby,” said Ghana coach Duncan.

“Playing against Nigeria would be a completely different game.
When you take the game against a brother like Nigeria, with the whole of the
country behind them and who are going to act as the 12th man on the pitch that
day, you won’t expect anything less.” Togo meet Liberia in the first semi-final
on Thursday at 2pm, while Nigeria and Ghana go head to head at 4pm.

The final and third-place match are to be played on Saturday.

Nigeria are the defending champions of the revamped annual sub-regional
tournament after they defeated Senegal 2-0 in last year’s final also at the MKO
Abiola Stadium.

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