Sunday Oliseh

Super Eagles gaffer, Sunday Oliseh is optimistic Nigeria will pick one of the five slots from the African continent to reach the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

“I am optimistic we will run this race very well. We will give it our very best and pray it will be good enough to get us one of the five slots available for Africa,” Oliseh said after the draw.

The Super Eagles is scheduled to start its 2018 World Cup qualification campaign away in November against the winner of the Djibouti vs Swaziland first round playoff, two months after playing an Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game away in Tanzania. While both sides have been classified as minnows and easily assailable opponents for Nigeria, Oliseh has refused to treat any world cup tie with levity.

The newly appointed coach insists Nigeria will not underrate any of its opponents while there will be no complacency in his team’s approach to each games until the world cup ticket is secured.

“Djibouti and Swaziland need to be given the respect that they deserve and either of them that we face in the second round will not be underrated. We respect every team and we will battle anyone that emerges with our full strength.

The 40-year-old coach expressed his joy with the outcome of the world cup draw, and his readiness to lead the Eagles to the double-headed qualification battles- 2017 African Cup of Nations and 2018 World Cup qualifiers respectively.

“I am happy with the draw. We are not playing the first round, which is a preliminary round and which we knew before the draw. We will also be playing the first leg of the second round away which means we have an advantage of playing the more crucial return leg at home, in front of our fans. With the draw now concluded, we can safely say that the race to Russia has officially started, ” Oliseh added.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will kick-start its 2018 World Cup qualifiers in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) second round series against   the winner of the tie between Djibouti and Swaziland in November, 2015.

Should the Super Eagles beat its opponent (either Djibouti or Swaziland) in the two-legged second round ties, it will progress to the third round which will consist of five groups of four teams each. The five group winners automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has assured the country that it will “do everything it takes” to guarantee the qualification of the Super Eagles for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. “A World Cup without Nigeria is not complete and as a federation, we will do everything it takes to see that the Super Eagles qualify for the tournament,” NFF executive committee member, Barrister Chris Green told said shortly after the draw.

Mr. Green further disclosed that the Super Eagles’ coaching crew led by Oliseh will be given the “necessary support” to guide the Eagles to a place at the finals. “We will continue to give the necessary support to Oliseh to enable him succeed. The Super Eagles owe Nigerians the obligation of playing well, winning matches and getting to play at every edition of the world cup. We want to ensure that Nigeria becomes a great force in international football again,” Green said.

By Olisemeka Obeche


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