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PIENAAR IN TRIBUTE TO RIVAL YAK; PIENAAR BACKING FOR RIVAL YAKUBU.

Byline: DAVID PRENTICE

NIGERIA coach Shuaibu Amodu is expected to ask Everton striker Yakubu to help fire his country to an unlikely World Cup qualification tomorrow.

And the Blues striker has been handed a glowing tribute on the eve of a must-win match from clubmate and international rival Steven Pienaar.

"Yakubu can score more goals than any other striker in the world. If you look at his record, he''s just an amazing goalscorer," said the South African midfielder.

"He's worked really hard in his rehab and has got back (to fitness) quite early. On his comeback (against Hull City), he scored so that just shows the type of player he is and it's also good for the team to have a striker back who can score goals.

"When you know you''re going to be out for a long time, you have to be strong and you need all the support that you can get. I was always talking to him over the. phone if I didn't see him, and just kept on encouraging him. I've been through a long injury and I know how it feels; sometimes you can lose your head." Pienaar believes that Yakubu's goal ratio of one in every two starts for the Toffees stands comparison with any other forwards in world football. "Yakubu is definitely up there," he added. "I had Ibrahimovic in my team, but Yakubu can score more goals than any other striker in the world." Nigeria need goals this weekend, with coach Shuaibu Amodu insisting his side will be aiming for not just a win against Mozambique but a comfortable one, as he believes they still have a realistic chance of making it to next year's World Cup finals. With just two matches left until the end of the qualifiers, the Super Eagles are in second place in the African Group B standings with six points, two behind Tunisia, and will need to win their remaining games while hoping Tunisia lose against either Kenya or Mozambique. "We are playing Mozambique, Tunisia is playing Kenya, and in football anything is possible," said Amodu. "They can be surprised at home by Kenya but that is none of my business. My business is making my team ready for our match which we have to win; "Not only do we have to win," added Amodu, "we have to try and score as many goals as possible to improve our goal difference which may come into play later." With Super Eagles' leading scorer, Ikechukwu Uche out injured, Yakubu has every chance of winning his 44th cap. Amodu refused to reveal whether Yakubu, scorer of 17 international goals for Nigeria, would start, but said: "Every player in this team can score goals; it is not something that is limited to strikers."
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 10, 2009
Words:462
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