Nigeria coach says a draw will be okay in Malawi

Nigeria’s Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has said a draw will be a good result for his charges as they take on Malawi’s Flames this Saturday at the Kamuzu Stadium.

The Nigeria’s former international told the media in his country just before departure for Blantyre that avoiding a defeat will be considered as a good result for them.

“A good result for us is definitely not to lose; we will be happy to come out of Blantyre with a win or a draw which will consolidate our position as the group leader. We should be satisfied with any outcome like that,” Keshi was quoted by Nigeria’s This Day online.

The Flames return to the battle line against the Super Eagles with high hopes to humiliate the visitors and go top of Group F in the African World Cup 2014 qualifying round following their 0-0 away draw against Kenya’s Harambe Stars last Saturday.

Flames ready to roast Super Eagles

Asked what he knows about the present play of the Flames Keshi responded: “I won’t tell you but I have an idea of how they play and we are going to work on that. They are a physically strong side that likes to play the 4-4-2 formation. We hope to play 90 minutes of focused football and change a lot of things about us which I believe will give us the edge we are looking for.”

Meanwhile, Super Eagles veteran striker, John Utaka, who scored the lone goal that gave Nigeria a slim win last time the two sides met inBlantyre in 2003, says he hopes to recreate the feat when both teamsbattle for the valuable points.

“It is been a long time since that game was played but if history beckons on me I will grab the opportunity with both hands,” he told The Daily Trust online.

Flames coach, Kinnah Phiri, has described the Super Eagles as a side living in the past following their recent unimpressive performance in both competitive and friendly games.

The Flames mentor said despite being his first game as in-charge of the team against Nigeria in any
competition he was looking forward to it.

“I have watched them play here when they beat Malawi in 2003, so I have an idea of how they play. I also watched some of the recent matches which Nigeria played. I will not disclose what I learnt and
analysed from watching them but I have a clear picture of what to expect from them,” opined Phiri, aka The Special One.

The last time Keshi and Phiri came face to face was at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola when the Nigerian coach was in-charge of Mali national team which beat Flames 3-1.

However, the Saturday game has some historical element as well in that when Malawi drew 2-2 with Nigeria at the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ivory Coast, Phiri was Flames’ team manager while Keshi was then captain for the Super Eagles.

The Flames just like their opponents have been experiencing low  scoring ratio in their respective recent matches with both teams only managing to score three goals in their last four games.

The only solace possibly is that while the Flames have drawn all their last four games (China Under 3-3, Tanzania 0-0, Zanzibar 1-1 and Kenya 0-0) Nigeria have lost two (2-3 against Egypt and 0-1 to Peru 0-1), drawn 0-0 with Rwanda before winning their last game against Namibia 1-0.

Morale in the Flames camp is however high with the coming in of three regulars Harry Nyirenda, Robert Ng’ambi and Chiukepo Msowoya who all missed last week’s match in Kenya.

The Super Eagles left their home land Thursday evening by a chartered flight and were expected to jet in Blantyre on Friday morning.

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