*Confesses ignorance of Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Moments after Nigeria’s Super Eagles were Friday in Salvador, Brazil, drawn in Group F of the 2014 World Cup scheduled for Brazil next summer, Chief Coach Stephen Keshi played down suggestions from football analysts, both Nigerians and foreigners alike, that they have an ‘easy draw’, insisting that only adequate preparation will see the team go far in the competition.
“I am not in the group that feels the Draw was an easy one. That would be a mistake to make because all the 32 teams in the pot were worth their places and would be formidable to tackle in the finals.
“There is no way we are going to look at any team and under-rate that team. They qualified just like we did, and no team would be coming determined to simply make up the number.”
The former Nigeria captain says it is always a thing of pride to be counted among the elite.
“We are happy to be here. To be among the 32 best teams in the world is a thing of joy, and our people back home, passionate football fans all, are excited.
“For me, winning always depends on how well you prepare. Even the weather that some people are already saying will favour the African teams against the European teams may not matter much when the competition starts.
“It is preparation that matters. I remember how, in 1994, we thrashed Bulgaria 3-0 in our very first match at the World Cup finals, and they went ahead to reach the semi finals while we lost out in the Round of 16.”
The Delta-born coach also wondered why Nigeria and Argentina keep being drawn in the same group at the World Cup but was quick to add that they will see how the their match, the third group match holding on June 25, 2014 will play out.
“Argentina versus Nigeria is something that is becoming a recurring decimal. We keep playing against them at every World Cup. It’s good. We will see how it goes this time,” he said.
Keshi however confessed knowing little about the group’s two other sides, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran.
“Not knowing Bosnia is a difficult thing but they are a good side. I think I’ve seen them once or twice on television. Iran? I’ve never seen them. For them to be here means they are a good team,” he added.