Nigeria go into their fifth World Cup finals this summer as current African champions, sweeping aside Ethiopia in the qualifiers, and will fancy their chances of making an impression in South America.
Manager: Stephen Keshi
Captain: Vincent Enyeama
World Cup Winners: N/A
World Cup Runners up: N/A
Best Finish: Round of 16 (1994, 1998)
Nigeria 2014 World Cup Preview:
Popped in Group F along with World Cup debutantes Bosnia & Herzegovina, minnows Iran, and perennially underachieving giants Argentina; Stephen Keshi’s Nigeria have a great opportunity to put themselves back on the map, having struggled to emulate the success seen now ten years ago, where the Super Eagles made the last 16 in consecutive years.
In the mid-nineties, Nigeria were considered to be the dominant force in African football, but the recent adventures of Ghana, and the power of the Ivory Coast has seen them drop out of the mix somewhat; something that could well be rectified this year as the new African champions.
With pace and power up top, Nigeria can certainly do damage, with Liverpool loan-man Victor Moses a key component of the attack. Chelsea’s Jon Obi Mikel remains the focal point for the side, giving much needed balance in the midfield, and maintaining a bridge between the defence and forward line. He may not start all that often for the Premier League side, but Mikel’s discipline and experience (now 51 caps) are essential to Nigeria.
The defence is the weak area, but with a splattering of European based players (including the experienced Joesph Yobo), they will be no pushovers, and the Super Eagles will have their sights firmly trained on that second round, and a return to prominence.
Nigeria 2014 World Cup Squad:
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United)
Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco), Efe Ambrose (Celtic), Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough), Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod), Joseph Yobo (Norwich, on loan from Fenerbahce), Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars)
Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea), Ramon Azeez (Almeria), Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio), Reuben Gabriel (Waasland-Beveren), Michael Babatunde (Volyn Lutsk)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Shola Ameobi (Newcastle), Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge), Peter Odemwingie (Stoke), Victor Moses (Liverpool, on loan from Chelsea), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen)
Key Player: Jon Obi Mikel
Nigeria 2014 World Cup Stats: