COACH STEPHEN KESHI TO RING CHANGES FOR NIGERIA
By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos
Nigeria's new coach Keshi says some new players will be invited to the squad
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi promised changes to the Super Eagles squad after taking charge of his first two matches.
Keshi was appointed two weeks ago and oversaw the goalless draw with Botswana on Saturday before they laboured to a 2-0 win against Zambia on Tuesday.
His 28-man squad for the two matches was chosen by the Nigeria Football Federation's technical committee.
But Keshi says he plans to ring the changes in order to find the right mentality and chart a new course.
He said: “We will take proper decisions based on where players are and look ahead to the next phase, identifying who are the right players to stay and who are the right players to go.
“I won't overhaul the team, but I will make sure that for every 18 or 25 we get to camp, there are twins in every position.
“I am looking forward to the next call-up against Rwanda. Now I know those I want from this group to come back for that game.
“Some of them here will not come back because they do not merit to be in the national team.
“Then I will try to pick some players from the local league.”
The ex-defender and captain was mandated to steer the side to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and 214 World Cup when he was appointed two weeks ago.
Stephen Keshi's profile
Name: Stephen Okechukwu Keshi
DOB: 31 January 1962
Coaching Career: Togo, Mali, Nigeria.
The 49-year-old, who previously worked as an assistant coach of Nigeria, said despite the lethargic performance, overall he was encouraged by the attitude of the team.
“I commend the players for their attitude on and off the field. It's really encouraging. Disciplined, great attitude in training. They gave me everything a coach wants in a team,” Keshi said.
“But as the coach I'm going to decide because some players have probably had their chance.
“We need to have capable players that are of the level to play for the national team at the Nations Cup and the World Cup.
“Now, we need to start looking forward. Let's bring those who are available, capable, and in good shape to come and play for us and fight to get a place in the national team.
“They will have to fight, because when I was playing I was fighting.”
Keshi, who captained Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup finals, was handed the post following the dismissal of Samson Siasia for his failure to lead the team to next year's Africa Cup of Nations.
Having been given a deal that goes until 2014, Keshi's contract stipulates that he must qualify for South Africa 2013 and reach the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Following his experience in Africa, fans and local media in the West African country are relatively optimistic.
Keshi achieved a major qualifying success when leading unfancied Togo to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
He was also in charge of the Mali national team.