Former Inter Milan defence ace Taribo West has attributed the main reason for the Super Eagles’ qualification for the final of the South Africa 2013 Africa Cup of Nations to coach Stephen Keshi’s decision to arrive at the venue with players hungry for success.
Nigeria on Wednesday beat Mali 4-1 to set up Sunday’s cup final against Burkina Faso, who dumped out favourites Ghana from the tournament, after a penalty shootout in the second semifinal of the day.
Speaking to our correspondent on the telephone on Thursday, Taribo, who confessed that he did not give the Eagles a chance of reaching the stage, said Keshi had been rewarded for keeping faith with young players such as Sunday Mba, Godfrey Oboabona, Kenneth Omeruo, Victor Moses, Ogenyi Onazi, Elderson Echiejile and Brown Ideye at the expense of the likes of Taye Taiwo, Obinna Nsofor and Osaze Odemwingie.
“They are hungry for success, and they learn fast,” the Atlanta ’96 gold medallist said.
“They keep improving with each game at competition because they want to make names for themselves.
“I believe Nigeria will win the trophy because we deserve it.
“Having beaten Ivory Coast, I was sure we would beat Mali.
“The Ivorians have a strong side and you don’t play against the likes of (Didier) Drogba and Yaya Toure and expect to win.
“Our team sprang an upset and they deserve commendation for their efforts.”
The ex-AC Milan star,who represented Nigeria in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, paid tribute to Keshi for building a team “working to be a Dream Team that will do Africa proud in the future.”
Taribo said, “Keshi has built an umbrella of love over the team. You can see that right from the bench everybody is happy. Success comes when there is love.
“I think Keshi has done well in this area.
“Again, he has injected his winning philosophy into the team, and the players have imbibed it.