Nigeria not afraid of any team, Rohr says

Nigerian Super Eagles used to illustrate the story.

Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr says he is calm ahead of Friday’s Final Draw for the 21st FIFA World Cup finals as his team has no fear of any team.

According to a statement by the Communications Department of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Thursday, Mr. Rohr spoke from the Crowne Plaza World Trade Centre in Moscow.

It quoted him as speaking in the morning after he landed in the Russian capital for the showpiece event.

“There is no weak squad in the 32-team field, and anyone hoping to play so-called `average teams’ in the group phase is only guilty of wishful thinking.

“All the teams that are in the Final Draw, except host nation Russia, played qualifying matches. They all emerged from tough encounters and, therefore, none can be tagged `weak’.

“In the next 24 hours, we will enter the State Kremlin Palace for the Final Draw and a couple of hours later, everyone will know their opponents.

“There is no apprehension. If you have to be listed among the best, you have to conquer the better teams and even beat some of the best.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria emerged from a truly tough qualifying group, which included three of Africa’s five flagbearers at the 2014 World Cup.

The other one — Zambia — won the Africa Cup of Nations only few years before.

Also, all four were former Africa Cup champions, and Cameroon were even the Cup holders.

Between them, they had won 10 African titles — Cameroon (5), Nigeria (3), Algeria (1) and Zambia (1).

During the week, statistical analysis of the teams in the Final Draw revealed that Nigeria used the youngest squad to qualify for the finals.

About two weeks ago, the three-time African champions came from two goals down to beat two-time world champions Argentina 4-2 in a friendly game.

“We don’t see that as more than a friendly, but what we took away was the capacity of the boys to respond appropriately to adversity, and I loved their reaction,” Mr. Rohr reflected.

The win brought back memories of Nigeria’s 4-1 spanking of the Argentines in another friendly in Abuja on June 1, 2011.

“Seriously speaking, every team has the right to dream. But we have our heads on our shoulders and our feet on the ground, and whatever draw comes, we will take it one match at a time.”

Friday’s Final Draw at the State Kremlin Palace will start at 6 p.m. Moscow time (4 p.m. Nigeria time).


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