Ejo sure of success despite strong field
Nigeria tackles Seychelles today
ON the eve of his team’s clash with the host nation in the opening match of the 2015 African Beach Soccer Championship, Coach Audu Adamu Ejo has told thenff.com that Nigeria’s Supersand Eagles have tremendous self-belief and will not play any team with trepidation in Seychelles.
The eight-team finals taking place in the Indian Ocean island of Seychelles also serves as the African qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Portugal. “We have prepared very well for this championship, with the support of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The Power Horse Invitational Tournament in Durban early March was a good competition for us; it helped us to identify weak points and our areas of strength.
“We have played all the teams that are here at one time or the other, so none is strange to us. We are fit and confident, and we believe we can go all the way,” he said.
Nigeria takes on Seychelles at the Roche Caiman Sports Complex, Victoria from 5.30pm Seychelles time (3.30pm Nigeria time) today. They also play Egypt and Cote d’Ivoire in Group A. Ghana (who lost 5-2 to the Supersand Eagles at the Power Horse event), Madagascar, Senegal and Morocco make up Group B.
Team captain Isiaka Olawale has also expressed confidence that the Supersand Eagles will make the country proud, while another veteran, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu, says the team will first aim at a World Cup ticket, then the trophy. Only the two finalists will fly Africa’s flag at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Portugal in July.
The Nigerian boys defeated Egypt 9-7 at the 2007 African Beach Soccer Championship in Durban and 6-5 at the same competition and venue in 2009. In 2013, the Supersand Eagles spanked the Egyptians 8-4 in Casablanca. Cote d’Ivoire beat Nigeria 5-4 at the African finals in Durban in 2008, but the Nigerians beat their West African rivals 7-4 to lift the African trophy also in Durban in 2009. In 2013, Cote d’Ivoire edged Nigeria 5-4 in the group phase in Casablanca, Morocco.
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