Posted: Tuesday February 5, 2013 11:03 AM

Nigeria coach has emotional encounter with Mali

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DURBAN, South Africa (AP) -Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi feels very close to the Mali team that he will face in the semifinals of the African Cup on Wednesday, saying he developed many good relationships and had a wonderful experience while coaching them a few years ago.

Keshi says he was treated extremely well when he led Mali from 2008-10 and still has contact with many of the players he coached.

He says "it's a shame'' the country is going through political instability but believes their players are drawing strength from the happenings back home.

The former Nigeria captain says he will be "highly professional'' to try to lead his team to the final for the first time in more than a decade.
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