Keshi: Nigeria's World Cup success depends on preparations

Stephen Keshi

Stephen Keshi: departs for Brazil seminar

Taiwo Adelu

Chief Coach of Nigeria’s Super Eagles, Stephen Keshi has said that the team can only make good impact in next year’s World Cup in Brazil if they prepare very well for the tournament.

Most analysts called him the coolest and calmest Coach at the final Draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Salvador on Friday, and there are also those who suggest his African champions look good enough for a
place in the Round of 16 from a pool containing Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran.

But Keshi swatted the suggestions of an ‘easy draw’ and insisted that only the best preparation will take the Eagles far at the finals next year summer.

“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 pots were worth their places and would be formidable to tackle in the finals,” said Keshi in a press statement made available to P.M.NEWS Sports Saturday by the Assistant Director, Media, of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Ademola Olajire.

“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 to simply make up the number.”

Stephen Keshi: success in Brazil depends on preparations
Stephen Keshi: success in Brazil depends on preparations

The former Nigerian captain said that 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.

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“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.”

Friday’s Draw at the Costa do Sauipe, Mata de Sao Joao, in the State of Bahia, began with a wonderful video tribute to departed former South African President, Dr. Nelson Mandela, and a minute’s silence
was observed in continuation of respect and adoration for the legend as was done at the FIFA Banquet on Thursday night.

FIFA Secretary General, Mr. Jerome Valcke, who jokingly told Coach Keshi on Thursday at the Hotel Sauipe de Class that “I hope to see you still smiling after tomorrow’s event,” conducted the draw with the assistance of eight icons from the winning countries of the past 19 editions of the FIFA World Cup: Alcides Ghiggia (Uruguay); Sir Geoff Hurst (England); Mario Kempes (Argentina); Lothar Matthaus (Germany); Cafu (Brazil); Fernando Hierro (Spain); Zinedine Zidane (France) and; Fabio Cannavaro (Italy).

Meanwhile, President of Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari has said that the NFF will give Coach Stephen Keshi all the support as he sets out to launch the African champions into making a huge
impact at next year’s FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.

Speaking in Salvador, Brazil on Friday, Maigari contended that his NFF is committed to breaking new grounds in every area of the football sector, including at next year’s showpiece in South America.

“This NFF administration has already broken a number of records, and we are determined to break more, especially at the FIFA World Cup. Now that we know the teams we are playing, the preparation starts right
away, without any delay.

“I have interfaced with Coach Keshi and told him the importance of submitting his comprehensive programme for the championship immediately we get back to Nigeria. Yes, we know there is the African Nations Championship in South Africa next month, which we are also determined to win. But at all times, the FIFA World Cup finals must stay in focus.”

At the event in Brazil, Nigeria was represented by Alhaji Aminu Maigari (NFF President), Mr. Mike Itemuagbor (FIFA Hospitality partner in Nigeria),
Mr. Adama Idris (Director of Marketing), Mr. Stephen Keshi (Super Eagles’ Head Coach), Mr. Ademola Olajire (Assistant Director of Media), Mr. Enebi Achor (Super Eagles’ Team Administrator and two officials of the Nigeria Embassy in Brazil.