Nigerians relieved at Liberia draw


With Senegal still in Pot B when Neil Tovey, South Africa's 1996 Nations Cup pulled out Nigeria from Pot A, a whole nation held its breath.
As the Nigeria assistant coach held out the little strip of paper that read 'Liberia', the collective exhale around Nigeria could have well have been enough to cause a tornado.
Even Amokachi could barely hide a wry, relieved smile when he looked at the name he had just drawn up.
It is an indication of Nigeria's current brittle state of transition, that none in the country are willing to risk facing high value opposition on the road to South Africa 2013.
Liberia's Lone Star are yet to win a single game against the Super Eagles after six attempts.
But Sylvanus Okpalla, one of Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi's assistants, insists that there will be no room for over-confidence.
"I know people are relieved that we got Liberia, but I can assure you that they will be no walk-overs," he said. "For them to be he, means they deserve to be here.
"These two games will be different from the last time we met. And we must play them with respect and treat them as equals.
"Our goal is to qualify for the Nations Cup, and everybody has to work hard and stay focused for us to do that."
The first leg comes up on the weekend of 7-9 September and the second leg is on the weekend of 12-14 October.