CHAN 2014: Eagles out to beat Mozambique

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The poor start of the home based Eagles at the on-going CHAN 2014 Championship holding in South Africa is going to be the tonic the players need as they file out against Mozambique in the team’s second Group A game that will either see them back in contention for the CHAN title or book their ticket back home.
No doubt the Eagles are fired up to win all remaining games in the tournament and defender Azubuike Egwuekwe beliefed this is achievable. Though, he admited that Nigeria’s back line struggled against a sure-footed Mali attack in the team’s first game, he assured that today’s game would be a lot different.
“As defenders, we lost communication several times when the Mali strikers came at us and it’s something we must correct,” he said noting that the only way for the team to remain in the championship is to win.
“We know what this tournament means to us as players and only a win matters now. We’ll need to take our chances in front of goal and play like our lives depends on it.”
For the Super Eagles head coach, Stephen Keshi’s claim that he parades a team of inexperienced players at the on-going CHAN 2014 championship, his wards needed not be told that the battle line was drawn and failure to take a win against Mozambique will spell doom for the team.
Keshi and his technical crew are also aware of the fact that the Nigerian side is highly respected and would have to be at their best to record victory that will see them remain in contention.
Strikers, Ejike Uzoenyi and Francis Benjamin will have to be at their best to get the Mozambicans submit to pressure. Mali for the first time at full international level beat Nigeria 2-1 in the opening Group A CHAN match.
Mozambique, just like Nigeria started on the wrong foot losing to host South Africa in the opening game by 3 – 1 and they are not ready to be shipped out easily from the championship. Coach of the Mambas, Joao Chissano, head coach of the Mozambique team, blamed the wet pitch for contributing to their 3-1 loss to South Africa in the first Group A game of the 2014 CHAN competition.  “I don’t know why they decided to wet the field minutes before the game. We know how to play soccer, but we should admit the pitch was a problem.”
However, against the Nigerian side, Chissano said it would be a battle only the fittest would come out victorious.
“I know Nigeria are the African champions for AFCON, but their CHAN team must also be good and we shall prepare for them well enough,” he added, while hoping that Alberto Diogo who netted an early goal for the Mozambique team against South Africa would again be on the prowl against Nigeria.
The game between South Africa and Mali will be for who takes the leadership of Group A. Host, South Africa but coach Gordon Igesund’s side now face arguably a far sterner test against Mali, who looked very impressive in racking up a 2-1 win over Nigeria. One of the most notable aspects of Mali’s play is their physicality, an area where they should comfortably overshadow South Africa. The host team will have to find a way to counter the West Africans’ size advantage, particularly when it comes to set pieces. Mali will take comfort from the fact that they have not lost to South Africa in two previous official international matches  and knocked Bafana Bafana out of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in the quarterfinals.

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