WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Nigeria

WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Nigeria

COACH – Stephen Keshi
BEST SHOWING – 2nd Round 1994, 1998
QUALIFICATION – Defeated Ethiopia in the CAF Playoffs
TOURNAMENT ODDS – 300/1
FIXTURES
June 16th – Iran (2000 BST, Curitiba, BBC)
June 21st – Bosnia (2300 BST, Cuiaba, BBC)
June 25th – Argentina (1700 BST, Porto Alegre, ITV)

 

Button Argentina Button Bosnia Button Iran

 

When Nigeria failed to make the 2012 African Cup Of Nations, it was put down to the usual egos, selfishness of the senior players and clashes with the Nigerian FA. Stephen Keshi was appointed to the managerial post and not only did he take the Super Eagles to the 2013 African Cup Of Nations, he guided the team to the trophy.

Qualification for the World Cup was achieved, albeit with a few hiccups along the way, and the Super Eagles can look forward to Brazil with optimism and the aim is to get out of the groups for the first time this millennium.

Keshi will look to line up with a 4-3-3. The experienced Vincent Enyeama returns in goal, while Joseph Yobo and Efe Ambrose could form the centre-back pairing in a unit that doesn’t concede too many goals.

Ogenyi Onazi sits in the deep lying midfield role which gives John Obi Mikel more freedom than he’s accustomed to at his club. Reuben Gabriel could play alongside with Victor Moses and Peter Odemwingie in wide roles while Emmanuel Emenike plays up front.

The Nigerians can use their speed to hurt teams and can break with devastating effect but the main plan is find Emenike through Mikel or one of the wingers. Their build up can be slow at times and against a team that sits back they struggle for ideas.

 

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ONE TO WATCH

06 WORLD CUP EMENIKE

Emenike returned to Fenerbahce last summer after a spell at Spartak Moscow.

His first spell at Fenerbahce was disrupted by a match fixing scandal which was later dropped due to a lack of credible evidence. 

He came back though and netted 12 goals last term (after hitting three for Spartak) while also being a focal point of the Nigerian attack.

He didn’t play a lot in qualifying but blessed with skill, pace and power, Emenike can be a handful for the world’s top defenders.

HERE COMES D-JUDGE
D-Judge

Nigeria come into the World Cup with optimism and a belief they can make an impact in Brazil. The off-field issues and politics usually associated with Nigerian football aren’t a factor at the moment and the Super Eagles can concentrate on their football.

The players believe in their coach and they also have a bit of quality about them. In a rarity for African teams their defence is mean but if Emenike fails to fire, goals could be hard to find – Shola Ameobi isn’t a prolific striker in any sense of the word.

The Super Eagles could shine in Brazil but they have to keep it tight and hope oppositions don’t shut down Mikel or Emenike. Plan A has worked for them but up against it does Keshi have a Plan B beside motivation?

If he does, Nigeria could surprise a few people.

 

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VERDICT

I think they’ll advance from the group and beating France, Switzerland or Ecuador isn’t out of the question. The last eight would be a massive success but elimination in the second round seems a more likely fate.

world cup Brasil emblem 01

Vincent Danyeama (D-Good)
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83


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