By Dare Esan:
Reputable research group CIES Football Observatory has emphatically ruled Nigeria’s Super Eagles out of contention for the Russia 2018 World Cup trophy, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
In the group’s weekly post (issue number 225), Nigeria are ranked the 22nd best out of the 32 teams that will be at the tournament whick kicks off on June 14.
The reserach group’s study looked at the number of matches players used in the 2018 World Cup qualification stage were involved in at domestic league level since July 2017 and the profile of clubs that they featured for before arriving at the decision that ranks Spain as the favourite for the title.
Nigeria’s Group D foes at the World Cup in Russia, Argentina and Croatia, are ranked seventh and eighth respectively in the table with Iceland coming in as 23rd best behind Nigeria.
Among the five African countries that will participate in the mundial, the Super Eagles are ranked the third best behind Sadio Mane’s Senegal, who are ranked the most likely African nation to spring a surprise and Morocco.
Mohammed Salah’s Egypt are the least ranked outsiders among the Africn nations behind Tunisia.
Meanwhile Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick, insists Nigeria are capable of springing that surprise in Russia by going all the way to the final to win the trophy.
“Again, people say why do I say that Nigeria can win the World Cup. If you have a child, what do you wish for the child- for him to be the best and nothing else. And if you have a younger brother, what do you pray for him to achieve? To be better than you. So, I don’t have any regret saying that Nigeria can win the World Cup,” Pinnick said.