Keshi: Nigeria has destiny in its hands
Published on January 26, 2013 by pmnews · No Comments
NELSPRUIT, South Africa(AFP) – Two-time winners Nigeria say they hope to beat Ethiopia on Tuesday and clinch a quarter-finals ticket at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles have their backs to the wall after drawing their first two Group C matches against Burkina Faso and defending champions Zambia.
On Tuesday, Nigeria face Ethiopia in Rustenburg at the same time as surprise group leaders Burkina Faso take on Zambia in Nelspruit.
All four teams are still in contention for two places in the knockout stage, but Nigeria will go through if they beat Ethiopia or if they draw on Tuesday and fellow west Africans Burkina Faso do them a big favour by defeating Zambia.
“We just have to forge ahead against a very good Ethiopia team,” said Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi.
“We have our destiny in our hands — we must beat Ethiopia.”
Villarreal striker Ikechukwu Uche said Nigeria will win their first game of the tournament on Tuesday.
“We all know what is at stake against Ethiopia — we either win or we are out of the competition. And I know we will win,” said Uche, who was the team’s top scorer in the qualifying series with three goals.
“Despite the draw (with Zambia) the group is still very open and we now have to wait till the last game. We are used to the pressure.
“The most important thing is getting qualification, even if it is on the last day,” added Nigeria goalkeeper trainer Ike Shorunmu.
When the teams last clashed, in Addis Ababa two years ago in a 2012 Nations Cup qualifying match, it ended 2-2 with Nigeria needing a last-gasp equaliser.
Nigeria won the first meeting 4-0 in Abuja.
The Eagles have not failed to reach the last eight since 1982 in Libya, where they finished third in a group including Ethiopia and Zambia.