2018 W’Cup: Fear No Foe, Ikhana, Dosu Tell Nigerians | Independent Newspapers Limited
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2018 W’Cup: Fear No Foe, Ikhana, Dosu Tell Nigerians

Ikhana 2
Posted: Jun 7, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Chibuike Chukwu

LAGOS – Super Eagles players have been advised to concentrate on how to qualify the team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup rather than dissipate their energies on the possibility of being drawn against either Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Egypt, Senegal or Algeria.
These teams are the top ranked teams in the continent and have been placed in pot one ahead of the World Cup qualifying group draws on June 24, 2016 in Cairo, Egypt.
The seeding, which was made on Sunday, put Nigeria in pot 3 alongside Congo Brazzaville, Morocco, Mali and South Africa. Pot 2 has Cameroon, Cape Verde Island, Tunisia, DR Congo and Guinea.
Uganda, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Zambia completed the seeding in pot four. The 20 teams will be drawn into five groups of four teams each with group winners qualifying for the World Cup in Rusia.
By implication, but for countries in pot 3, Nigeria stands the chance of meeting any other country among the other 15 countries. The seeding was done according to the latest FIFA ranking.
There is, therefore, every chance that Nigeria will be drawn against either Algeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal or Egypt.
But speaking to Independent, former Eagles defender, Kadiri Ikhana, said even though Nigeria may likely meet top opponents in the main draw, there was no guarantee that they will qualify ahead of it.
Ikhana said one cannot predict the outcome of the qualifiers until the matches were played.
“We cannot predict anything now; who says we cannot qualify ahead of all these countries if we are grouped together?
“All we have to do is to study them very well and know how we can tackle them; remember there is no small team now. These days, smaller teams even defeat bigger teams and besides Nigeria is not a small side from all standard.
“If we are afraid of Egypt or Algeria, they themselves should be afraid of us as well; I tell you, they may be praying to avoid us. The key is for us to prepare well ahead of the qualifiers,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, Joseph Dosu, ex-international, emphasised on adequate preparation, saying the chances of Nigeria were bright no matter which country we were finally paired against.
“We need early preparation if we must qualify. I see bright chances for Nigeria despite the FIFA ranking, which they used for the seeding.
“The ranking is not important when the players take to the field. It is the 90 minutes that will decide the outcome of any match. We need to win our matches.
“What is the point of expressing doubt? If we prepare very well and win our matches, we will qualify. The national team, you will realise, is not relenting. We played two friendly matches and won them; to me that is a right move,” he said.