June 15, 2014 – Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, says his boys will take it one match at a time as they launch their 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign against Iran in Curitiba on Monday.
Speaking in an interview published in the Team Nigeria brochure for the tournament, Keshi said the team would focus on the other matches as they come, one after the other.
“Today as I speak, I know we are going to play Iran on June 16. There are two other matches in the group phase, against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina, but our focus for now is what we must achieve against Iran in Curitiba.”
The 52 –year old, who captained the Nigeria senior squad for a record 11 years and played through the pain barrier to lead the team to qualify for its first FIFA World Cup finals, in Algiers in 1993, also stated that his team has serious ambition to do Nigeria and Africa proud here in Brazil.
“There would have been no reason to take part in the qualifying series if we didn’t believe we would make it to the finals, and there would have been no reason to prepare so hard for the finals if we knew we were only coming to Brazil to make up the number.
“I have a group of players who believe in themselves. They want to go as far as they can in Brazil, and the formula we will employ is to look at what is immediately in front of us and focus and plan on how to tackle it.”
The Super Eagles were guilty of getting ahead of themselves when players were already thinking of a mouth –watering quarter final against Brazil before playing Denmark in the Round of 16 at France ’98, and also fell to inexperience in the past, coming within one hundred seconds of a famous defeat of Italy and berth in the quarter finals in 1994.
“Both situations were unfortunate. That is why you must always focus on your immediate challenge. We definitely lost to inexperience in 1994. Here in Brazil, we have a mixture of youth and experience. We are ready to fly.”