As the countdown continues to the June 6 Gabon 2017 Nations Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Chad in Kaduna, Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi says he wants to build a solid squad reminiscent of the strategy that helped the team win the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa.
Keshi is set to call-up not less than 26 players from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), as the build-up to the game against Chad starts on May 18.
The 26 players would undergo trials after which those who excelled will battle for place in the final squad with overseasbased players. “We have to return to basics and do the things we did that helped us win the 2013 Afcon in South Africa,” said Keshi. “I want to start from scratch to build a solid squad that will make Nigerians happy again. “It is important to give players in the local league a chance to show us what they can do and that is why I am inviting 26 of them to prove themselves.”
He added that the overseas-based players who will be handed call-ups are those who “play regularly for their clubs”. “Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not a coach that will invite players based on what they have done in the past.
“Only those who play regularly for their clubs will be called up and if they fail to give a 120 percent while in camp, they know what will happen.
“There is no automatic shirt for anyone. If anyone thinks that we just need to turn up and beat Chad that person is making a big mistake. “They are a good side and we have to work hard to beat them. We will approach the game with all seriousness and hopefully we will get good result,” he said.