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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jun 14, 2014

Keshi: African sides must improve

The ESPN FC panel preview Group F, with the main talking points being Messi and Argentina.

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has told FIFA that a lack of tactical discipline has prevented an African side from seriously challenging for the World Cup.

- Udoh: Nigeria need better PR

No team from Africa has ever made it to the semifinal stage of the tournament, with Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana all coming up short in the quarterfinals.

Algeria, Nigeria and Ivory Coast, along with Cameroon and Ghana, will all be hoping to change that and make history this summer in Brazil.

However, although Keshi says African football is now on a par with that of Europe and South America, he feels the continent's national sides still have aspects of their game that they can improve on.

"I think so," he said when asked if African football is now as strong as the rest of the world.

"If you look at most of the African players that are playing now for the African teams -- the five African teams that have qualified for the World Cup -- most of them are playing in Europe, playing against the same players as European players, South American players. I think it's the same thing.

"The only problem, the only difference I think is the lack of concentration and the lack of discipline on the field. Tactical discipline, that is.

"If we could pay attention to our game plan and concentrate, I think we could do it because this is the same team that we play against week in, week out in Europe.

"Nigeria haven't won a World Cup game for a while. Why do you think that is? I mean, we've always had such great players. It's because of a lack of tactical discipline and concentration."

As for Nigeria's chances in Brazil, Keshi is unsure as to how far they can go, but is hoping his side will give their supporters something to be proud of.

The Super Eagles have been drawn in Group F, alongside Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran.

"I don't know [what the team can achieve]," he said. "My dream is to build a strong team for Nigerians and give these players a reason to be footballers. And to show the many players that are coming up behind that they can become somebody in football. That's my dream and that's it."

Keshi added: "I like attacking football. I don't believe you need to sit back and load behind. You've got to be open and make the people come to the stadium. They spend so much money -- they need to get value for it.

"Good, attacking football is what I like. Of course there must be purpose and discipline and togetherness to make the good football work."

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