2014 World Cup qualifiers: Nigeria v Kenya Preview

By IndepthAfrica
In Kenya
Mar 22nd, 2013
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Kenya's John Njoroge is tackled by Nigerian Obafemi Martins during the 2010 Soccer World Cup qualification match at Moi International Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya (November 14, 2009). EPA/STAFFORD ONDEGO

Kenya’s John Njoroge is tackled by Nigerian Obafemi Martins during the 2010 Soccer World Cup qualification match at Moi International Stadium in Nairobi, Kenya (November 14, 2009). EPA/STAFFORD ONDEGO

African champions Nigeria can take complete command of Group F with a win at home to Kenya on Saturday in the latest round of qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.

The Super Eagles lead the way in their group on four points from two games and are 33 places higher than Kenya in the Confederation of African Football rankings.

Nigeria also have home advantage and there is a three-point gap between the teams.

The Super Eagles beat Namibia at home and held Malawi away last June, while the Harambee Stars secured only one after a home draw against Malawi and a loss in Namibia.

However, Kenya and Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama believes his country can spring a surprise.

“The players are ready, there is a lot of mental strength among them and we are hopeful of a favourable result against Nigeria,” said the 21-year-old Kenya captain.

“Everything is possible in football and Kenya can win in Nigeria – it is time the Harambee Stars moved forward in international football.”

Jonathan PitroipaPitroipa has urged Burkina Faso to carry on their good form from the Nations Cup

Nigeria ended a 19-year trophy drought when they won the Nations Cup in South Africa in February, beating Burkina Faso in the final.

But coach Stephen Keshi has urged his players to forget that success and concentrate on a new target.

“South Africa is history now and Nigeria must qualify for Brazil next year. We need the support of everyone to ensure that happens and I know my boys will not let the nation down,” he said.

Keshi has called up two midfielders – Ukraine-based Michael Babatunde and John Ogu of Portuguese club Academica Coimbra – who did not make the 23-man Nations Cup-winning squad.

Kenya will rely heavily on France-based striker Dennis Oliech for goals and Algeria-born Adel Amrouche makes his debut as coach after succeeding veteran Frenchman Henri Michel.

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