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News Article  | Nigeria Interviews

Interview With Tijani Babangida

SL10 Chats To Ex-Super Eagle Tijani Babangida About Keshi's Reappointment

By SL10 - May 14, 2015 04:12 PM

Ahead of Nigeria’s opening 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Chad in June, sought the thoughts of former Super Eagles winger, Tijani ‘ TJ’ Babangida. The former Ajax Amsterdam of Holland star talks about the Eagles chances of making the Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, Keshi’s return and so much more. Enjoy.

Sl10: TJ thanks for talking to us again. Let’s start by taking a look at Keshi’s return as the Super Eagles coach. What are your thoughts?

Babangida: I think it’s a good development that he’s back and I give kudos to the Nigeria Football Federation for doing the right thing. We need to start trusting our own more, and give them more opportunities. We may have failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, but Keshi remains a hero in Nigerian football and you cannot take that away from him. He’s back and I think what we should be doing now is concentrating on the challenges ahead.

Sl10: Talking of the challenges ahead, Nigeria find themselves in a tricky group comprising of Chad, Tanzania and Egypt. Ordinarily, one would have expected the Eagles to go through but with recent results, there are doubts. How much of a chance does Nigeria stand in this group?

Babangida: Why are you talking like we are now like Chad? We are three time African champions and have played severally at the World Cup so I think we deserve some respect. Of course Egypt will be our toughest opponents in the group but we shouldn’t take the other teams for granted. But I believe it is a group we can qualify from and I think we should qualify.

Sl10: Another cause for concern is that most of the Eagles’ regular players don’t play regularly for their clubs. Don’t you think that’s a cause for concern?

Babangida: I agree with you on that one. Most of our guys are not playing as regularly as they should and it is sad and unfortunately there is nothing Keshi can do about it. I think the players should strive harder and become more important to their teams. It calls for concern but I think we’ll find a way.

Sl10: You seem to be very optimistic that Keshi will do better this time

Babangida: Yes I am. He made mistakes in the past and I’m sure he’s learned from them and now we must move forward. He also won us the Africa Cup of Nations so he can build on that too. But overall I think he should do better. It was unfortunate what happened last year but this is football and you win some and lose some. Nobody wins every time and we must understand this.

Sl10: Finally, your club, FC Taraba. Do you honestly think you will make significant improvements from last season?

Babangida: Yes I believe so. Now we have the experience of playing in the Premier League so I strongly believe we will have a better season this year.

Sl10: Thanks for your time, TJ

Babangida: You’re welcome my man.


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