Posted by News Express | 15 January 2013 | 3,758 times
A coach whose team were this afternoon over-ran 5-0 by the Super Eagles in their last pre-Africa Cup of Nations friendly match has tipped Nigeria as potential winners of the “African World cup.”
Antero Afonso, coach of Portuguese second division side, Farense, said after the encounter that his side had learnt useful lessons from the Eagles and did not hesitate to tip them for glory in South Africa.
His words: “You have what it takes to win the championship, but you must take each game as it comes and adopt different styles for different opposition. You have very quick players so don’t allow yourself to be under pressure at any time in the tournament. I may not know the teams that will be at the tournament but the team I saw today should be among the favourites to win the African Cup.”
Super Eagles gaffer Stephen Keshi described the game played at the Browns Sports and Leisure Club in Faro, Portugal, as a dress rehearsal for the team’s opening game against Burkina Faso on January 21.
Reports from Portugal said the match was barely five minutes old when right back Efe Ambrose’ surging run into the danger area of the Portuguese was halted via a vicious tackle. Centre referee Luis Costa promptly pointed to the spot, and Chelsea star, John Mikel Obi, stepped in to coolly slot home the opener.
Farense thereafter made things difficult for the Eagles as Senegalese-born striker, Sone Diop, Falardo and dangerman Fabio Texeira attacked sporadically in search of an equaliser that never came till the end of the first half. The Eagles on the other hand had plenty of chances to have buried the game in the first but Nosa Igiebor hit the cross bar thrice, Mikel followed suit with a fiery shot that also hit the bar and Emmanuel Emenike also missed a sitter.
On the restart Keshi made sweeping changes, introducing Kenneth Omeruo for Joseph Yobo, Juwon Oshaniwa for Elderson Echejile, Ogenyi Onazi for Mikel Obi, Sunday Mba for Igiebor, Obiorah Nwankwo for Fegor Ogude, Ikechukwu Uche for Brown Ideye, Gabriel Reuben for Efe Ambrose mid-way into the half, same as Vincent Enyeama was replaced by Chigozie Agbim.
The impact of the changes started manifesting in the 75th minute when an Emenike’s furious onslaught down the left wing of the pitch was clinically finished off by Ikechukwu Uche for one of his three goals of the evening. Goalkeeper Agbim must be credited for his quick counter-attack throw to Emenike.
Uche was to score another in the 80th minute after nice footwork by Ejike Uzoenyi left him face-to-face with goalie Sergio Serrar. He blasted into the roof of the net. He completed his hat trick after a fine interchange of passes between him, Onazi and Ejike.
Just as the referee was about sounding the final whistle Ejike was to set up Emenike for the final goal on the dot of 90 minutes for a comprehensive whitewash of the Farense side.
With that, the Eagles brought their camping in Faro to a memorable climax and are now set to depart for South Africa for the championship.
•Photo: For the Eagles, a result to celebrate.
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