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Football enthusiasts express confidence in Super Eagles ahead of World Cup draw

Some football enthusiasts, on Wednesday expressed confidence ahead of the World Cup draw, that the Super Eagles would be capable to face any team drawn with it in the same group on Friday.

The fans and pundits expressed optimism while speaking  in Abuja, that Nigeria would also get a favourable draw.

Tunde Popoola, the Secretary General of the Nigeria Olympic Committee ( NOC ),  said that the present crop of players in the Super Eagles were good enough to take on any team in the world.

“I’m not one to really think about trying to avoid teams. I believe if you want to win a big tournament such as the World Cup, you’re going to have to play the best teams sooner or later.

“Having said that, I am confident that the Super Eagles will be prepared to take on any country or group they are drawn into when the World Cup proper begins.

“I have no doubt in my mind in the ability of the crop of young talents we have in the squad right now to cause an upset and go ahead to shock the world in Russia,” he said.

Godwin Bamigboye, Chairman, Nigeria Football Coaches Association, FCT Chapter, advised the team to focus more on their abilities, rather than on the strength of the teams they would be drawn against.

“The draw is essential and a key moment for any country, the team and the coaching crew as it will lay out our path to the World Cup finals.

“It is one of those moments in which the whole world of football holds its breath.

“However, my advice to the team and the coaching crew is not to focus on the strength or weakness of their opponents but rather on their own strength and abilities.

“We can only hope for the best draw possible, but even if we are drawn against the ‘almighty Brazil’, so be it.

“The truth is, names don’t play football these days, but people do. It’s all about the team spirit and in a World Cup as little things can decide matches.

“What we need in a tournament such as this is to be mentally strong and physically robust.

“I believe we are more than capable to beat any team in the world with a very good preparation and hard work,” he said.

Jonathan Akpoborie, an ex-international said: “Let’s forget about the permutations. We’re positive, but we must also not get too ahead of ourselves.

“We know we’ve still got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to play more quality friendly games between now and the finals to fine tune the team.

“Having said that, it will be a great feeling to know who the Super Eagles will be facing at the group stage of the World Cup and I really can’t wait to know our opponents.

“For now, it’s just about focusing on the games ahead and looking forward to the finals,” he said.

Excitement will be high when coaches of the 32 qualified nations gather at the State Kremlin Palace in Russia for the Dec. 1 draw.

The gala event will be televised live around the world.

Teams have been seeded in four pots based on the October edition of the world rankings issued by ruling body FIFA.

Russia, being the tournament host, was exempted from the seeding, but was placed in pot 1 and atop group A.

No more than two European teams can be in one group, and teams from other regions cannot be pitted against sides from the same confederations.

The teams’ fates are now down to the luck or ill fortune of the draw, with the seeding throwing up some intriguing permutations.

World champions Germany will avoid South American giants Brazil and Argentina, and highly-fancied France.

Germany could come up against 2010 champions Spain (pot 2) or strong African and Asian teams such as Senegal (3) or South Korea (4) .

Another difficult constellation for Joachim Loew’s squad could be a South American opponent such as Uruguay or Colombia from pot 2, along with on-form neighbours Denmark (3) and much-improved African qualifiers Nigeria (4).

An easier draw on paper would be a group with Peru, Iran and Panama.

Russia will be hoping to avoid the fate of 2010 hosts South Africa, who failed to reach the knock-out stage, as they bank on home support to help them outperform their 65th ranking.

From the top pot, Poland may be the most favoured opponents for the lower-seeded sides despite a strong qualifying phase, with Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandowski, scoring 16 goals to lead the scoring charts.

Also, Germany bidding to become the first country to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in 1958 and 1962, will be a team most outside pot 1 will be looking to avoid.

Of some of the other big names, England, under Gareth Southgate, will be hoping to get out of the group stage, after exiting early in 2014.

Brazil will also be a team to avoid and so will third-seeded Iceland, who dumped the Three Lions out of Euro 2016.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to kick off on June 14 and lat till July 15

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