Super Eagles stand-in captain, Vincent Enyeama, believes the current Super Eagles squad would not be far from winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup by the time they arrive in Brazil.
Nigeria became the first African nation to book their place in next year’s World Cup after defeating Ethiopia 2-0 on Saturday to seal a 4-1 aggregate victory.
Enyeama, 31, will be making his third appearance on the biggest stage in world soccer next year, after debuting in 2002 in Korea and Japan before making the squad for the South Africa World Cup in 2010.
It will be 14 years next summer since Pele’s famous prediction ‘an African team to win the World Cup’ elapsed, but the inform Lille Metropole shot-stopper claims Nigeria can become the first African side to not only reach the semi-finals, but even win the much-coveted silverware.
“(Are we going) to make an impression at the World Cup? No we can actually win it,” he told BBC Sport.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Nigeria win the World Cup one day- maybe with me. It’s just a matter of time and moment. Everything is possible. Impossible is nothing.”
Aside from their strong show of in-depth quality and attacking prowess at the 1994 tournament, when Italy prevented Nigeria from reaching the quarter-finals in the last two minutes thanks to Roberto Baggio’s heroic, the reigning African champions have not won a World Cup match since beating Bulgaria in 1998, the last time the Eagles reached the last-16.
Despite losing out in the group stages in their previous two campaigns, Enyeama says his confidence stems from his strong believe in Christianity.
“I believe in God, I believe in the Bible, which says he chooses who he chooses. What if He chooses Nigeria? I don’t believe in statistics and you can never rule us out,” Enyeama explained.
The veteran goalkeeper may not be counting on the records but his form at French Ligue 1 side, Lille, has seen him emerge as arguably the safest hands in Africa at the moment- 7 clean sheets in his last league games since Christopher Glombard of Stade de Reims scored against him on August 17.
In the history of the World Cup, only three African teams have reached the quarter-finals: Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.