Posted by News Express | 13 October 2013 | 2,733 times
Super Eagles’ head coach Stephen Keshi has raised the alarm over the poor nature of the Addis Ababa National Stadium pitch where Nigeria take on hosts Ethiopia in this afternoon’s first leg final World Cup qualifier. He yesteday pleaded with the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) to water the pitch’s dry playing surface and patchy grass.
Keshi, according to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that if the pitch was not watered, it could injure Super Eagles players and deny football fans the opportunity of watching good football.
“We are pleading for the pitch to be watered so as to save our players from injuries and for the fans to watch good football,” Keshi said.
Reacting, Yigzaw Bizuayehu, the Secretary-General of EFF, however told NAN that the pitch was ready for the encounter, saying the Nigerian team was not the only one to play on the pitch.
Bizuayehu said the EFF had both the visitors and their players in mind and would not do something to endanger the players, adding that the pitch was watered regularly.
“We did what we can. We have done our best as far as football is concerned,” he said.
Bizuayehu further said that the game should not be seen as a do-or-die affair, pointing out that football is about wins, losses or draws.
His words: “I am a sportsman and an international referee. So, I know that football has three things, which is either you draw, lose or win.
“So, why should I be scared of another team or be bothered if I lose? This is football, and we should not forget that everybody has his or her own talents and people are bound to play.
“Don’t also forget that players are playing for their flags. So, no one is scared of anybody.
“We will accept whatever the outcome of the match will be, but players must do their own job.”
The match is scheduled for 2pm Nigerian time while the return leg game will hold at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar on November 16.
•Photo shows Stephen Keshi.
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