Eagles Don't Have a Team - Keshi
Technical adviser of The Hawks of Togo, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi has tipped the Elephants of Cote D'Ivoire as the most likely team to lift the African Cup of Nations trophy in Ghana next year.
Speaking in an exclusive telephone chat with Sports Radio 88.9 Brila FM from his base in Lome, Togo, the former Super Eagles skipper said the Ivorians are world class and, on current form, the best team in the continent.
Keshi also downplayed the chances of the hosts, Black Stars of Ghana, in the championship, while describing the Claude Le Roy tutored-lads as an average team. "We played against them at the Four-Nation tournament in Accra and by my own assessment there was nothing special about the Black Stars.
"Although they won the trophy, by beating the Squirrels of Benin Republic, I don't think they have a team that can rule the continent.
The former Anderlecht of Belgium libero declined to comment on Berti Vogts' 31-man provisional list, but declared emphatically that it will be the ninth wonder of the world if the Eagles lift the trophy in Ghana, with a hint that Nigeria does not have a good team.
"We have quality players, but we lack the kind of cohesiveness required to excel," he told Sports Radio 88.9 Brila FM in the exclusive chat.
"Many of our players are doing very well in Europe for their clubs, but for us to win in Ghana we need a team. A group of players, who are united, disciplined and ready to give their best and I don't think we have that now," said Keshi, who led the Eagles to win the tournament fourteen years ago in Tunisia.
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The former Strasbourg of France defender also said there is no basis for comparison between the current team and the all- conquering Super Eagles squad that lifted the trophy in 1994 in Tunis. "I'm sure Nigerians know that we cannot compare this team to our team that won the tournament in 1994. In terms of quality, discipline, commitment and hunger for glory, there is no basis for comparison," he affirmed, while noting that it is painful that the Hawks of Togo will not be in Ghana for the Nations Cup.
He said: "It's painful that we will not be in Ghana, I'm disappointed, the fans are disappointed, but we are taking it in strides because we know the future is bright."
The ex-international expressed satisfaction with his second stint in Togo and hailed Arsenal's gangling forward, Emmanuel Adebayor for his sterling performances for the Premier League side. "Adebayor is unarguably one of the best players in the Premiership now. The problem is that he can be very childish some times, but when he is in his elements, he is a very good player," said The Boss, who also pointed out that he has many good players in the Togolese team and Adebayor is just one of them.