Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has backed under-fire forward Brown Ideye to come good once he sheds his anxiety.
The forward scored once at the Africa Cup of Nations and only once more since then — a penalty conversion against Mexico in a 2-2 friendly draw.
And at the Confederations Cup he was guilty of squandering a host of gilt-edged chances as he failed to find the back of the net.
But his endeavour, hard work, link-up play and ability to rack up assists have found favour with his coach.
“It’s true that Brown hasn’t scored goals, but that does not make him a bad player,” Keshi tells KickOffNigeria.com. “Sometimes when the ambition (to score) turns into anxiety, it becomes difficult for a striker to score goals.
“So all he needs to do is relax. We have been working on his inner relaxation and inner calm so that when he is in front of goal it will be much easier for him.”
Keshi praised Ideye’s other qualities, especially his unselfish graft for the team. Against Spain he dropped deep to rescue the two fullbacks from sticky situations, and Keshi says that fits into his philosophy of team ahead of individual.
“He is a good kid; he has been working his tail off everywhere on the pitch. And that’s what we want — somebody who plays for the team.”
At club level, Ideye averages more than a goal every other game, and Keshi predicts that once the forward starts scoring for the Eagles, it will be hard to stop him.
“It’s just the finishing that’s lacking because that is his number one job, and that is why people are a little bit angry, but I’m very sure it’s going to come – and when it comes, it won’t stop.
“We just need to support him, keep believing in him and give him the confidence to continue to express himself without pressure.”