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Jan, 26, 2010

Nigeria boss Amodu admits relief at progress

Under-fire Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu was more worried about the Super Eagles' reputation being damaged rather than his own position during Monday night's quarter-final win over Zambia in the African Nations Cup.

• Zambia 0-0 Nigeria: Super Eagles edge through shoot-out

Shaibu Amodu: Guided Nigeria to third at the African Nations Cup
Shaibu Amodu: Guided Nigeria to third at the African Nations Cup

The Super Eagles boss, who has been heavily criticised throughout the tournament in Angola, witnessed another unconvincing display by his team in Lubango as they survived heavy pressure from their opponents to eventually prevail 5-4 via a penalty shoot-out.

The victory set up a semi-final meeting with west African rivals Ghana in a repeat of their 2008 last-eight meeting, which Ghana won.

"I was worried about the reputation of Nigeria, not for my position," Amodu said. "It was not good to be eliminated again at the quarter-finals.

"We had to overcome this obstacle, because Zambia is a very good team, attacking and defending together. I told my players that this would be one of our toughest matches.''

The Nigeria coach says he has never doubted his players since the opening day of the competition.

He added: "Since the first day, we said we had a team that could win the tournament. I know I have players who can do it.

"Today, we have not played too well but it was good to speak as a team. It is not the best right now, but getting better all the time, and within five months we will be much better.''

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