The Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi, says his players are not under any pressure in their final Group F African qualifier for Brazil 2014 World Cup match in Calabar on Saturday.
Keshi said this in Calabar on Wednesday at a media briefing on the team’s preparations for the crucial encounter.
He said that the team and the coaching crew believed in hard work to get the maximum points.
“I have always believed in hard work. I do not believe in anything that is do or die. I am not under any pressure. We are only going to give our best on Saturday.”
The chief coach also said that the team had started training, adding that he was encouraged by the spirit of the players in training.
He further said that the controversy over his comment on the Malawian coach was meant to defend Nigeria and the Super Eagles.
“I was defending my country and my team. Whatever I said was not directly to him personally,” he said.
Keshi also said that Ikechukwu Uche of Villariel of Spain was still part of the team, adding that he had nothing against any player.
He said that Nigeria had a lot of players but not all of them would play at the same time.
“Ikechukwu is part of this team. There is nothing against any player. Only 11 players are needed in any match, so it is not possible to call everybody at the same time,” he said.
He described Calabar as the home of the team and thanked the people and Government of Cross River for their reception.
Also speaking, the stand-in Captain of the team, Vincent Enyeama, said he was not in any competition with any player in the team, adding that all the goalkeepers in the team were equally good.
Enyeama, who said that he would soon leave the stage for the younger goalkeepers, however, did not specify on the time to quit nation’s football team.
“The camp is amazing and I thank God for that. The first training was great with 12 players but I am optimistic that come Saturday we will win. Almost everybody is in camp.
“Calabar is one of the most secured places in Nigeria. I do not really know from where they got the information that Calabar is not secure.
“Calabar is also quiet. But I want the Flames to come out and play their game, have fun and be happy.
“We are professionals we know what is at stake and what is expected of us. We are not under any pressure, we are going out there to dorn the colour of Nigeria which we are also proud of,” he said.
Chigozie Agbim, one of the three Super Eagles’ goalkeeper in camp for Saturday’s crunch Brazil 2014 World cup qualifier against the Flames of Malawi, also spoke with NAN.
“The spirit is high, the players’ spirit is high for Saturday’s match. Personally, I am 100 per cent ready. Our team don’t make noise.
“We will talk on the pitch on Saturday. But I can assure you that we will win them very well,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 20 players have so far reported to the Metropolitan Hotel camp of the Eagles while three players were being expected.
Some of the players in camp include Vincent Enyeama, Chigozie Agbim, Emmanuel Emenike, Obinna Nsofor, Ahmed Musa, Godffrey Oboabona, Sunday Mba and Azubuike Egwueke.
In a related development, the State Police Command says it is ready for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the command, Mr Hogan Bassey, gave the assurance in a telephone interview with NAN in Calabar on Wednesday.
Bassey said that the command was putting measures in place to ensure that adequate security was provided before, during and after the match.
“It is not in our character to disclose our strategies but I can assure you that the police are ready to provide adequate security,” he said.
He called for full and relentless cooperation from the government and people of the state by reporting any suspicious character to the command.