Brazil 2014: Bosnia Media Interviews Editor, AllNigeriaSoccer On Group F

Published: December 22, 2013
Brazil 2014: Bosnia Media Interviews Editor, AllNigeriaSoccer On Group FAs everyone knows by now, Bosnia has been drawn into Group F, together with Argentina, Nigeria, and Iran.  The match against Nigeria could be a case of do or die for both teams and certainly could be a deciding game based on the other results.  We sat down and talked to the editor of Nigerian football website, and asked them a few questions.  Check it out.

 1) First of all congratulations on reaching the World Cup! Nigeria certainly aren’t newcomers to the competition, having been at this stage four previous times. What makes this qualification different?

“This qualification was special because for the first time we qualified as African champions. And an indigenous coach was at the helm of affairs. Unlike previous qualifying tournaments, in the squad were home based players – Sunday Mba, Godfrey Oboabona – unlike in the past were the squad was composed mainly of foreign based professionals.”

2) What was your initial reaction to the group draw with Argentina, Bosnia, and Iran?

“At first I thought it was an easy draw because I only know about the pedigree of Argentina. Bosnia are strangers to the World Cup while Iran are outsiders in every tournament, meaning Nigeria are favored to qualify for the knock out round. But after I did a reality check, I discovered Bosnia had so many outstanding players in the top leagues - Premiership, Germany and Italy – so they will be difficult opponents. In Europe, it is not easy for a team to top your World Cup qualifying group. It takes planning and it only shows how the Bosnia Federation is organized.”

3)  Nigeria are 2013 African Nations Cup Champions. Can the team build on this success and ride the positive results into the World Cup, or is it a whole different dynamic?

‘The world cup is totally different from the Nations Cup, where a bit of luck could see you winning the tournament. The Confederations Cup held last summer did not tick the right boxes that Nigeria will do well when they return to Brazil after they lost to Spain and Uruguay.The best prepared teams win matches at the World Cup. If Nigeria prepares well for the Mundial, then , I see them reaching at least the second round of the World Cup.”

4) Nigeria were able to put away Ethiopia in the last step of the African qualifiers. Can you talk a little bit about the qualification campaign, and what the biggest challenges were?

“It is difficult winning away matches in Africa unlike Europe where the games are televised to the whole world. But the Eagles were able to win 2 games – Ethiopia and Kenya – and drew 2 others with Malawi and Namibia. Also the African pitches are not up to standard, not easy for the foreign professionals to adjust to these pitches at short notice. Nigeria were lucky with the draw especially in the second round where they played the team everybody wanted to meet, Ethiopia and it is not surprising they were the only team that won their matches home and away in the play – off round because the opposition was inexperienced”

5)  Argentina are the clear favorites in Group F, can Nigeria mount a challenge against them, based on the history between the two teams?

“It is always tough when these two countries meet. Three defeats in three previous meetings at the World Cup. But the losses were narrow, only a goal deficit. I would expect Nigeria to put up a strong fight as always and as long as they don’t make mistake in defense or lose concentration, the outcome of the tie could be draw or even a Nigeria win.”

6) Many are pitting Bosnia and Nigeria as the two challengers for the second spot in the group. What do you think about this match up, who is the better side? What will be the difference?

“It depends on the indices you are using to compare both countries. FIFA rates Bosnia ahead of Nigeria on current form. On the other hand, Nigeria has qualified for four World Cups in the last five editions, so they have tradition which can not be bought. Nigeria has nothing to lose at this stage. Why? They play Iran in their first game and expected to win while Bosnia will lose to Argentina according to the form guide. The Bosnians know a draw or even a loss against Nigeria means they are out of the tournament after two matches. The pressure is certainly on the Dragons and when you are under pressure, you are prone to errors. Worst case scenario, I expect both teams to share the spoils.”

7) Iran are certainly no pushovers with an impressive campaign of their own in Asia. Will they be a formidable opponent and can they mount an upset?

“It is straightforward. Argentina are expected to top the group while Bosnia and Nigeria fight for second place. Iran – good side in Asia - but big outsiders in Group F.”

8) Stephen Keshi was recently quoted in the Bosnian media saying that Bosnia should be no problem for the Nigerians. Was this a misquote? What is your manager’s view of the group?

“Like every coach, Stephen Keshi says he is not afraid of any opponent but has admitted that Argentina has a strong squad. He thinks Nigeria will qualify for the second round. Not much details is known about the Bosnia squad, he’ll certainly do a lot of home work before the start of the tournament next summer.”

9) What is the pulse on the ground among the Nigerian population. Do they view this as a favorable group?

“Certainly a favorable group but not an easy one. Also, we meet the toughest opponents last, Argentina. The South Americans may have even qualified for the round of 16 before the clash with Nigeria and may rest some key players as it is the norm. ”

10) Nigeria has some well known players within it’s ranks, such as John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, Ahmed Musa, Shola Ameobi, and others. Who are your most important players?

“The main players in the Nigeria squad are goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama (Lille), John Obi Mikel(Chelsea), Godfrey Oboabona(Rizespor), Eddy Onazi (Lazio) and Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce). Vincent Enyeama, the skipper has been excellent in France this season and was in the news recently for going 1062 minutes without conceding a goal. Oboabona is the stalwart in defense, good at free-kicks and not easy to dispossess off the ball. Mikel plays a more creative role for Nigeria than he does for Chelsea. The midfielder who does all the dirty work and very well is Eddy Onazi of Lazio. Emmanuel Emenike scores a lot of goals for clubs and country.”

11) What sort of style of play does Nigeria play, because the perception in Bosnia is that they are a strong physical team with plenty of stamina?

Stephen Keshi plays a 4 – 3 – 3 formation but this can easily be switched to a 4 – 5 – 1 if the team is not in possession. Yes, Nigeria is physically strong. They can easily break the opponents play and launch their own attacks using their fast wide players Victor Moses (Liverpool) and Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow).”

12) What would you say is Nigeria’s biggest strength and Nigeria’s biggest weakness?

“Weakness of the Eagles is that they tend to lose concentration in defense, lack tactical discipline and order. Strength – fast players, very good strikers playing for some of the top clubs in Europe.”

- To read the full interview, visit

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