Battle of Catalonia: WE WON’T LET NIGERIANS DOWN, says Keshi as Eagles file out against 10 Barca stars, 18 days to 2013 South Africa Cup of Nations

Posted by News Express | 2 January 2013 | 4,183 times

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Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has promised that the team won’t let Nigerians down either in tonight’s top-grade friendly in Spain or in the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.

The Big Boss, as Keshi is fondly called, gave the assurance during a welcome party for the Eagles organised by the Nigerian Embassy in Spain. The Nations Cup-bound Eagles are in Spain for a friendly cracker against Catalonia, an autonomous Spanish region of over 7 million people. Head Coach of Catalonia side, Johan Cryuff, has listed 10 players from Spanish La Liga leaders Barcelona and seven players from Espanyol FC – whose ground will host the encounter – for the international friendly.

“We promise never to let the confidence and trust of the nation down at all times,” said Keshi during a reception at Hotel Fira Palace in the heart of Barcelona, where they were addressed by Head of Chancery, Mr Safiu Olaniyan, on behalf of the Nigerian Ambassador to Spain, Mrs. Bianca Olivia Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who was unavoidably absent due to other engagements.

Bianca in her speech described the Super Eagles as the higher grade of ambassadors of Nigeria and urged the players to go all out and do the country proud in the friendly against Catalonia and at the upcoming Nations Cup in South Africa. She said she was aware that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan was solidly behind the team to achieve success at the South Africa 2013 Cup of Nations as football is a major unifying force in Nigeria.

Replying, Keshi said he was humbled by the kind words of the ambassador and assured that the Super Eagles would do all within their powers to defend the green white green colours of the nation at all times.

The Super Eagles flew to Spain for the match from the pre-Nations Cup training camp in Faro, Portugal. The flight from Faro to Catalonia lasted 1:30 minutes. Upon arrival at the Barcelona International Airport, the delegation was warmly received by officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Spain led by Head of Chancery, Mr. Olaniyan; Deputy Consul General, Mr. Nze Nnadi; President of Nigerian Union in Barcelona, Curtis Aghedo; President, Nigerians in Valles, Kingsley Lawal; and secretary of Nigerians in Valles, Gbenga Adegoke. Some 20 Nigerian football supporters were also at the airport to receive the team.

The Catalonian team list made available to the Nigerian delegation on arrival in Barcelona features Barcelona first choice in goal, Victor Valdes, Xavi Hernandez, Carlos Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Martin Montoya, Sergio Roberto, Christian Tello and Marc Bartra.

Also in the team are Espanyol stars Joan Verdi, Joan Capdevilla, Sergio Garcia, Kiko Casilas, Raul Rodriguez, Victor Sanchez, and Sergio Tejera. Others in the team list are AC Milan’s Bojan Rkic, Getafe’s Alvaro Vazquez, Jordi Amat and Francesco Medina ‘Piti’ both of Rayo Vallecano and Red Bulls Zalburg’s Jonathan Soriaro.

Reacting to the team list, Keshi, who took mainly home-based players to camp, said: “These are big names no doubt but our players know that names don’t play football these days, we will just go out there and give our best against them.”

The match time has been brought forward to 7pm Nigerian time instead of the earlier scheduled 9pm.

Photo: The Super Eagles.

Source: News Express

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