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I’m happy we broke winless jinx –Keshi

Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi says he is excited to lead the team to break their 16-year winless jinx at the World Cup.

Nigeria last won at the World Cup in 1998 when they defeated Bulgaria 1-0 in a group game in France.

Keshi, who led Nigeria to a 1-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday, said that breaking the jinx was the high point of the game, saying he was excited by its outcome.

“What gave me excitement after the game was the fact that Nigeria finally won again at the World Cup. I am excited to be part of this great team that changed things after a very long wait. It is indeed delightful,” Keshi, who led the team to victory at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, said.

Osaze Odemwingie’s 29th minute goal was all Nigeria needed to beat Bosnia to boost their chances of moving to the second round of the tournament.

The victory firmly placed Nigeria second in Group F behind Argentina, who defeated Iran 1-0 to amass six points.

A victory or a draw against Argentina in their last group game on Wednesday will hand Nigeria the ticket to play in the round of 16 which begins on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Odemwingie, who was voted Man-of-the-Match in the game, commended goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama for his performance.

He said, “I’ve been praised for my performance but I think Vincent (Enyeama) was exceptionally good; he made fantastic saves. He made at least two or three good saves. He kept us in the game and saved the day for us. Even up till the added time he still had something wonderful to do. The last save made a lot of difference.”

The Stoke City striker also expressed his joy at returning to the national team after being excluded for over a year.

“I feel so happy to be back playing for Nigeria. It’s every player’s dream to play for his country. There couldn’t have been a better time to return than at a period like the World Cup.

“Returning was made easy by everyone involved; they showed me love and understanding and the reception was very warm. The coach showed great faith in me and his understanding was wonderful.”

Odemwingie described Bosnia goalkeeper, Asmir Begovic, who is his teammate at Stoke City as “great”.

“Saving shots from close distance is one of the stronger sides of his (Begovic’s) game. He is a great guy. He knows I have a good shot and I tried to shoot a few times. I’m sure he is going to tell me off when I get back to Stoke,” he said.

“I had to do it for my country but I was so happy to see him on this stage and I exchanged shirts with him at the end of the game.”


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