Cape Town Will Be A 'War' Promises Keshi
The tough talking and mind games have reached fever pitch as two grand establishments in African football – Nigeria and South Africa – prepare to go toe to toe in a 2015 Africa Nations Cup qualifying game in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The fortunes of both sides, going into the fixture could not have been more different.
Before the first round of matches in Group A, one of the sides was expected to struggle while the other was expected to cruise through.
It went according to script but not quite as the bookmakers predicted. One of the sides did win at a canter but against popular expectations, it was South Africa that won comfortably (away to Sudan) while Nigeria capitulated to a shock home defeat to Congo.
South Africa coach, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba has now voiced his sentiments ahead of Saturday's game.
“We are going well in our preparations for this game but we are expecting a very tough game,” Mashaba said.
The South Africa trainer then revealed that he has been drilling his charges to get under the skin of the Nigerian players.
“In our last (training) session, we were working on an exercise where we pick up the runners.
“The idea is to deprive people of space.
“If we deny the Nigerian players space, they will get annoyed and this is what we want.
“If my boys can do that, then we will have a chance.
“I know the Nigerians. They always want to be cruising, playing free flowing football but if we pick them up and deny them spaces, then we will have a chance.
“Nigeria play a very fast game but we will do what they don't expect which is to get the ball into their half with speed and play our game.
“Take the game to them in one on one situations because they don't like that and take them on.
“It will be not be a tactical game. It will be a psychological thing. It will be war,” he said.
Keshi also spoke about the upcoming game and offered words of praise to Mashaba for giving a chance for youth to shine.
“The South Africans are trying to build a team with young players which is a good thing.
“We also have young players. We just have to get ready for South Africa.
“History will not win the game for us. We have to win the game for ourselves and concentrate, that's all.
“It will be war,” he said.