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Nigeria meet Benin in WAFU Cup semi final

Football
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By ESPN Staff

Staunton: 'The chance of a lifetime'

Steve Staunton has spoken of his determination to repeat the success he enjoyed as a player for the Republic of Ireland after taking over as manager.

Staunton, who will take charge with Sir Bobby Robson acting as International Football Consultant, was a member of the famous side who beat Italy at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

And after the national team failed to qualify for the forthcoming World Cup in Germany under Brian Kerr, Staunton knows the size of the task he faces.

'To play for and captain your country is an honour and I was fortunate to do both - but to manage them is the ultimate honour,' he told a news conference televised by Sky Sports News.

'It is clearly the opportunity of a lifetime for me. I am fully aware of the responsibility placed on my shoulders by the footballing community and I understand the expectations that go with that.

'I know how much football means to the people of this country, we have the greatest fans in the world bar none - I have witnessed it. I was so lucky to have soldiered with them over the years.

'Everyone associated knows the experience of the Giants Stadium against Italy. They are not just memories, they are huge moments in people's lives, mine included.

'We have the same aims - we want success and more of those Giants Stadium experiences.

'We may be a small country but we have had our experiences, we've been to three World Cups and have achieved a lot through hard graft and a bit of luck

Staunton was clear about Robson's role within the new set-up.

He added: 'I'm the boss. I'm the gaffer. At the end of the day what I say goes, the buck stops with me. I will use Bobby in whatever role I see fit. He has a huge role to play, he's there for me all the time. I've got a very good coach alongside me (Kevin MacDonald) and I will put my trust and faith in him and that is why I got this team together.

'I know in my heart we can do it and work together.

'We are here to achieve success, our aim is to qualify for the European Championships and World Cups. First and foremost that is our aim, we want to blood new talent and we have got new talent coming through.

'We have to get the team up and running again, get the fans behind us and to give hope to the fans and show them we are heading in the right direction.'

Staunton also revealed some of that 'new blood' would be recruited from within Irish football.

He added: 'I want someone within the eircom League scouting for me, keeping an eye on things. They will be looking at individuals and I will be coming over to see games under the recommendation of a trustworthy source over here.

'I am looking at the next four years. It will be tough going for the Europeans but we'll give it our best shot.'