By David Meshioye:
Efforts are in top gear by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) top brass to ensure Super Eagles gaffer, Stephen Keshi and Federation Chairman, Amaju Pinnick attend July 25 preliminary draw of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia slated for St. Petersburg.
The ceremony which will be held at the historic Konstantinovsky Palace in St. Petersburg, will decide who Nigeria will face in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, after Super Eagles bowed out to France in quarter finals in Brazil 2014.
Complete Sports decent source revealed exclusively that the board is already planning toward the World Cup draws, now that the Eagles have started their AFCON qualifiers on a bright note, with three points in the kitty following Super Eagles 2-0 win over Les Sao of Chad in Kaduna last weekend.
“Our attention now turns to the World Cup draws in Russia next month. The coach and NFF president are expected to attend. We just pray for a good draw,” our decent source informed.
With Nigeria currently ranked 8th in Africa, the Super Eagles may face a difficult task in the groups since the top five teams in Africa will occupy Pot 1.
Algeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tunisia, Senegal, are ranked ahead of Nigeria meaning there is a possibility of Super Eagles facing one of Africa’s top five in the qualifying stage. A team’s total number of points over a four-year period is determined by adding the average number of points gained from matches during the past year and the average number of points gained from matches older than 12 months.
However, Coach Stephen Keshi is hoping for a fair draw in St.Petersburg next month but maintained that the Eagles will be ready to face any opponent; they are drawn with in the World Cup qualifiers.
“We are looking forward to the draws and I just hope for a fair draw but I must say here that I am not really worried about the teams we will get. All that matter is to do our bit and prepare well for every match,” he said.
Russia qualifies automatically as hosts and will therefore not be involved in the Preliminary Draw. For the first time in the history of the World Cup, all national teams have registered for the preliminary competition.
Besides Asia, which already have made a pre-preliminary draw, all other five Confederations will be drawn in St Petersburg.