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Football: Nigeria World Cup warm-up key for Keshi

Nigeria are looking for a successful build-up to this year's World Cup, not just to inspire confidence going into the tournament but also to secure the future of the team's coach. The Super Eagles begin their warm-up for the finals on Wednesday, with a game against Mexico in Atlanta, Georgia, with coach Stephen Keshi eyeing the game as integral to his plans for Brazil. But he also knows the result could determine whether he leads the team in South America, given strained ties with Nigeria's footballing authorities and a history of switching coaches.

Football: Nigeria coach calls up 42-player squad for WC qualifier

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has called up a total of 42 players made up of 24 from the local league and 18 from overseas for a World Cup qualifier against Malawi next month. Only five of the 24 players from the domestic championship will eventually join the 18 overseas-based stars for the qualiifer, as well as for a friendly against Burkina Faso in Kaduna on September 10. Goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim, defenders Azubuike Egwuekwe, Solomon Kwambe and Benjamin Francis, as well as midfielders Sunday Mba and forward Gambo Mohammed headline the locally-based contingent.

Football: Nigerian kings bask in title glory

Nigeria ended a 19-year wait to be crowned kings of Africa after victory against Burkina Faso in the continent's premier football tournament, sending the Super Eagles to a showdown with the world champions. Sunday's 1-0 final triumph over outsiders Burkina Faso in South Africa saw the thousands gathered to watch the match on giant screens near the national stadium in Nigeria's second city Lagos erupt with joy and celebration in the country's press. "Kings of Africa" said The Punch newspaper on Monday, while The Nation called the win "Nigeria's magical hour".

Soccer-Keshi out to prove African coaches have what it takes

By Mark Gleeson JOHANNESBURG, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi intends to prove a point about the prowess of African coaches when his side take on Burkina Faso in Sunday's African Nations Cup final. The former international defender could become only the second man to win the title as a coach and a player - he was captain when Nigeria last won the title in 1996.

Soccer-Burkina Faso chase place in first Nations Cup final

By Mark Gleeson NELSPRUIT, South Africa, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Burkina Faso hope to break new ground and book a first African Nations Cup final appearance when they 'host' Ghana in Nelspruit on Wednesday. The west African country take on their southern neighbours at the Mbombela Stadium (1830 GMT), which they say has become something of a fortress for them after four undefeated matches in the provincial town.

Soccer-Nations Cup wide open as gulf in class decreases - Keshi

By Mike Collett WHITE RIVER, South Africa, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The gap between the best and the rest of the teams at the African Nations Cup is narrowing which is why this year's tournament is wide open, Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi said on Thursday. Keshi, preparing his team for their second Group C match against defending champions Zambia in Nelspruit on Friday, said he had been impressed by all 16 teams who made it to South Africa, and that the days when minnows reached these finals only to lose heavily to bigger teams had gone.
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