Tough tie for Nigeria

Nigeria«s head coach Berti Vogts looks on during the Nigeria national soccer team training session, on January 11, 2007 in Marbella, Spain. Pic: Alexander Hassenstein. © Gallo Images
Nigeria«s head coach Berti Vogts looks on during the Nigeria national soccer team training session, on January 11, 2007 in Marbella, Spain. Pic: Alexander Hassenstein. © Gallo Images

ELMINA - Nigeria will have their backs to the wall when they face Mali in their Africa Cup of Nations Group B game in Sekondi tonight.

The Super Eagles, having lost their opener against Ivory Coast 1-0, will be eliminated if they lose and the Ivorians beat Benin in the day's first game at the Essipon stadium.

But Nigeria coach Berti Vogts, pictured, is not too worried.

"My players have a good team spirit and I know they'll give everything they have to go through," said Vogts, who steered Germany to the European Championship title in 1996.

The German believes that Nigeria were beaten by the "best side in Africa" and that the best is yet to come from his team.

But Mali, who have arguably one of the strongest midfields on the continent with Seydou Keita and Mahamadou Diarra, will be a tough nut to crack.

The Eagles laboured to a 1-0 victory over Benin but captain Keita believes his team have what it takes to go far in the competition.

"There is a lot of solidarity within the team and in the Nations Cup, solidarity is a key element."

The Mali players will also be supported by the inhabitants of Yirimadio, a Bamoko neighbourhood where giant screens have been installed so the people there can watch the game. - Reuters

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