Super Eagles interim Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, and his assistants were grinning from ear to ear yesterday as almost all the players invited for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match with DR Congo on Saturday stormed Calabar for training.
At launch time, the number of players in camp swelled to 17 as against the only nine players that trained during the morning session. The arrival of Nnamdi Oduamadi and Emmanuel Emenike took the figure to 19 on the second day of the camp.
Ahmed Musa, Ogenyi Onazi, Efe Ambrose, Kenneth Omeruo, Juwon Oshaniwa, Sone Aluko, John Mikel Obi and stand-in captain, Austin Ejide, all arrived on time to have launch with the rest of the players that opened the camp at the weekend.
Oduamadi and Emenike were the last Eagles to arrive camp yesterday evening. Oduamadi breezed in while the team was having its evening training at the UJ Esuene Stadium while Emenike met the team at the hotel.
Wednesday’s evening training session is expected to be a full house.
Mikel’s entrance was particularly hilarious as he came in with hand gloves and asked Keshi if he will need some with the fear of the Ebola virus in mind.
“Coach I have up to four hand gloves and if you don’t mind, I can hand one pair to you”, joked the Chelsea stalwart with the rest of the team reeling with laughter.
Media Officer of the team, Ben Alaiya, said last night that “the spirit in camp is very buoyant with the arrival of the super stars and coach Keshi has said that he expects the best from the players on Saturday in the game against Congo.”
“The national team head coach also announced that he has decided to replace Vincent Enyeama, who is absent for personal reasons with Elkanemi of Maiduguri first choice keeper, David Obiazor. He is expected in camp on Wednesday evening,” stressed Alaiya.
He quoted Keshi to have said that he was monitoring the Nigerian league.
The coach believes that the goalkeeper of Elkanemi is a talent. That is why he wants to give him a trial. Let’s see how it turns out when he arrives camp,” concludes the team’s spokesman.
Meanwhile, Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, has said that he believes that the Super Eagles will come out tops against Congo, despite the short time the team had to prepare for the qualifier in Calabar.
Imoke spoke through the state’s Youth and Sports Commissioner, Hon Patrick Ugbe, who also promised that the fans in Calabar will turn out en-masse on Saturday to cheer the national team to victory.
Ugbe, added that he was happy with the quick response of the players to national call and was sure that the team will excel.
Earlier, NFF Director of Technical, Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme, who has been pulling the strings here to ensure the comfort of the national team, said he was impressed by the showing of the players in the morning training session.