The technical director of the Namibia Football Association, Klaus Starke has played down the Brave Warriors’ chances of beating Nigeria on Sunday, saying that Nigeria were the favourites to win the World Cup qualifier.
Speaking to the Nigerian radio station Brila FM, Starke said that Nigeria were in a different class.
”Nigeria is a big country in African football. We are not on the pedestal with them. We are here with the hope to keep the scores low and not to win,” he was quoted as saying.
”We are not dreamers and would not pretend to be contenders for a ticket. We are building for the future and hopefully we shall be serious contenders for a slot in subsequent tournaments,” Starke told Brila FM.
Namibia’s delegation arrived in Nigeria on Thursday evening from their training camp in Germany. The team departed from the International Airport, Lagos by 8:30pm and connected a flight to Calabar, venue of the World Cup qualifying fixture, on Friday morning.
Nigeria, meanwhile trimmed their squad down to 27 players by Friday. The squad includes 15 foreign based players and 12 local based players.
Some of the notable foreign based players include goalkeeper and captain Vincent Enyeama of Lille, winger Victor Moses of Wigan, winger Nnamdi
Oduamadi who plays for AC Milan, and midfielder Obiora Nwankwo who plays for Parma.
The Super Eagles have received huge support at their training sessions at the University of Calabar soccer pitch with up to 5 000 fans turning up for each session.
Nigeria’s coach Stephen Keshi was quoted by Kickoff.com as saying that he was not under pressure.
“There is nothing like pressure coming from any quarter. Tension or pressure is a natural thing in life,” he said.
“When you leave your house for a function you are under pressure to do it well, when you are driving you are under pressure to get to your destination, so life itself is full of pressure of all types, but no NFF official has put me under pressure.”
Former Namibian coach Tom Saintfiet is still waiting for his work permit and has not joined the Nigerian team yet. It was announced in March that he had been appointed as Nigeria’s Technical Director, but since then there has been no new developments.
The Nigerian squad is as follows:
Foreign based players:
Vincent Enyeama (Lille, France), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikva, Israel), Uwa Echiejile (Sporting Braga, Portugal), Efe Ambrose (MS Ashdod, Israel), Sone Aluko (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Fegor Ogude (Vålerenga, Norway), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Victor Moses (Wigan, England), Ikechukwu Uche (Granada, Spain), John Utaka (Montpellier, France), Nnamdi Oduamadi (AC Milan, Italy), Obiora Nwankwo (Inter Milan, Italy), Ekigho Ehiosun (Samsunspor, Turkey), Raheem Lawal (Atletico Belares, Spain) and Gege Soriola (Free State Stars, South Africa).
Local based players:
Chigozie Agbim, Azubuike Egwueke, Sunday Mba, Ejike Uzoenyi, Juwon Oshaniwa, Izu Azuka, Godfrey Oboabona, Henry Uche, Kalu Uche, Papa Idris, Gabriel Reuben and Obinna Nwachukwu.