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Eagles fans happy with World Cup draw

09 December 2013, 09:43

Abuja - A cross-section of sports enthusiasts across the country are mostly pleased with Nigeria’s draw Nigeria’s draw in Group F of the 2014 FIFA World Cup scheduled for Brazil.

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday, they all said they were pleased with what they said was a "good" draw for Nigeria.

NAN reports that the Brazil 2014 groups were decided on Friday evening in Costa do Sauipe, Salvador in Brazil at the Final Draw ceremony.

Nigeria got a seemingly favourable draw, after the Super Eagles were drawn in Group F alongside Argentina, Iran and newcomers Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The sports enthusiasts who spoke to NAN expressed confidence in the ability of Nigeria to qualify from the group.

Tunde Poopola, the secretary-general of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), said that this was Nigeria's time and chance to prove to the football world that it had indeed arrived.

"I am very optimistic that Nigeria will not only progress from this group, but will go all the way to top Group F.

"I believe this is our time to get our pound of flesh from the Argentines," he said.

NAN recalls that Nigeria have drawn Argentina for the fourth time in five World Cup appearances.

Nigeria have previously been drawn with the former South American champions in 1994, 2002 and 2010 and have lost all three games.

They lost 1-2 in 1994, and 1-0 in 2002 and 2010.

The NOC secretary-general said Argentina had always been a thorn in Nigeria's flesh.

"But I am confident that with the quality of our squad now and their current new-found belief and form, we can beat any team in the world," Poopola said.

Bitrus Bewarang, the president of the Nigeria Football Coaches Association (NFCA), said he was happy that Nigeria's first game would be against Iran.

"We need to start with the easier games in order for the team to gradually build their confidence as the tournament progresses.

"Getting our first three points in the game against Iran will be key to the team's progress in this group," he said.

Bewarang also urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the team’s head coach to strategically organise a lot of friendly matches for the Super Eagles ahead of the World Cup.

"The NFF must work closely with Stephen Keshi to strategically organise friendly matches, especially with teams from South America, Asia and Europe in order for the team to get a feel of what to expect from their group games," he said.

The NFCA President also noted that the Super Eagles must learn from the lessons of the 2010 World Cup finals.

"The team failed to qualify even though they were drawn in a similarly favourable group," he said.

Ibrahim Abdullahi, the FCT Football Association secretary, said the Super Eagles would fancy their chances in Group F against Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"I don't think these two teams would pose so much threat to our qualification from this group.

"With hardwork and discipline we will get the maximum points from Iran and Bosnia," he said.

 Abdullahi however noted that Argentina would be Nigeria's major threat and the team to beat in the group.

"We have never won against Argentina in all our previous meetings and so they are the only major concern in our group.

"So, if we can manage to pull a draw against Argentina or beat them, then that would be a big plus for us," he said.

Godwin Bamigboye, the chairman of the FCT Football Coaches Association, warned that Nigeria must not take any team for granted if it intends to make history.

"We must take each game as it comes and not lose focus.

"I strongly believe that we have all it takes to go all the way to the semi-finals at this World Cup," he said.

Bamigboye said the time had come for Nigeria to break the African record by making it not only to the semi-finals but all the way to the final of the World Cup.

"I don't see Argentina standing in our way at all. We will defeat them this time around by the grace of God and with full commitment and discipline," he added.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup, which will be the 20th FIFA World Cup, is scheduled to take place in Brazil from June 12 to July 13.



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