Patrice Motsepe believes the Super Eagles have the potential to win the World Cup.
Nigeria have qualified for the tournament six times with their best performance coming in 1994, 1998, and 2002 when the team reached the second round of the global football showpiece.
Despite not qualifying for the recently concluded edition in Qatar, the Confederation of African Football president is optimistic the three-time African champions can win the title.
“I am absolutely confident [because of] the talent, God-given skills, and history of Nigerian football. Nigeria is one of those countries that have the potential – not just to go to the semi-final, not just to go to the final, but to win the World Cup,” he said.
To make this happen, the South African business tycoon says CAF has several programmes for its member countries which are meant to “focus on youth football development, football facilities for boys and girls, amateur football, football development at club level, training coaches and training the trainers, the development of referees and very importantly, to make sure that we work together with the football federation in Nigeria so that they can continue the leadership that they have provided for many years.
“We are confident that Nigerian football will continue to be not just amongst the best in Africa but in the world and will make us proud as it has on so many occasions in the past. Our plan is to see Nigeria in the next World Cup.”
His comment came days after Morocco became the first African team (after only four teams from the continent got to the quarter-final) to reach the semi-final of the quadrennial competition, a feat the billionaire said has opened the floodgate for the continent.
“Morocco opened the door by reaching the semi-finals this month and I am confident an African nation will go further at the next World Cup,” the CAF chief added.
“The main objective of CAF (Confederation of African Football) is for an African nation to win the World Cup and that goal is within reach.”
When the World Cup returns in 2026, there will be nine or 10 African nations for an expanded 48-team championship in the United States, Canada, and Mexico — up from five in Qatar.