Nigeria national team head coach, Stephen Keshi, says he does not share people’s opinion that the African champions have been drawn in an easy group.
Keshi, who witnessed the final FIFA World Cup draw on Friday, stressed every team on football’s biggest stage has earned the right to be accorded respect and, as well has their chances to succeed banking on their level of preparations.
The Super Eagles where poled alongside seeded South Americans Argentina in Group F- for the fourth time in a World Cup preliminary round- while Asians Iran and European debutantes Bosnia-Herzegovina completed the pairing.
Nigeria kicks off their campaign against Iran on Monday 16, June, at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, and will subsequently play in Cuiaba and Porto Alegre.
Keshi insists there are no small teams out of the 32 qualifiers and that Nigeria have to take every match seriously.
“I am not in the group that feels the draw was an easy one. That would be a mistake to make because all the 32 teams in the pot were worth their places and would be formidable to tackle in the finals,” Keshi said.
“There’s no way we are going to look at any team and underrate them. They qualified just like we did, and no team would be coming determined to simply make up the number”.
Keshi, who became the second African to win the Cup of Nations as a player and coach in Tunisia (1994) and South Africa (last February), downplayed the notion by many Europeans that the summer heat in Brazil will favour the Africans.
Video: Keshi Speaks on 2014 World Cup Group F.
“For me, winning always depends on how well you prepare. Even the weather that some people are already saying will favour the African teams against the European teams may not matter much when the competition starts.
“It is preparation that matters. I remember how, in 1994, we thrashed Bulgaria 3-0 in our very first match at the World Cup finals, and they went ahead to reach the semi finals while we lost out in the round the Round of 16”.