Brazil 2014: Preparation will be key, not easy draw – Keshi

Most analysts called him the coolest and calmest Coach at the Final Draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Salvador on Friday, and there are also those who suggest his African champions look good enough for a
place in the Round of 16 from a pool containing Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran.
mandela challenge cup
But Coach Stephen Keshi has swatted suggestions of an ‘easy draw’ and insists only the best preparation will take the Super Eagles far at the finals next year summer.

“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.

“There is no way we are going to look at any team and under-rate that team. They qualified just like we did, and no team would be coming determined to simply make up the number.”

The former Nigeria captain says it is always a thing of pride to be counted among the elite.

“We are happy to be here. To be among the 32 best teams in the world is a thing of joy, and our people back home, passionate football fans all, are excited.

“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 of

Friday’s Draw at the Costa do Sauipe, Mata de Sao Joao, in the State of Bahia, began with a wonderful video tribute to departed former South African President, Dr. Nelson Mandela, and a minute’s silence
was observed in continuation of respect and adoration for the legend as was done at the FIFA Banquet on Thursday night.

FIFA Secretary General, Mr. Jerome Valcke, who jokingly told Coach Keshi on Thursday at the Hotel Sauipe de Class that “I hope to see you still smiling after tomorrow’s event,” conducted the draw with the
assistance of eight icons from the winning countries of the past 19 editions of the FIFA World Cup: Alcides Ghiggia (Uruguay); Sir Geoff Hurst (England); Mario Kempes (Argentina); Lothar Matthaus (Germany);
Cafu (Brazil); Fernando Hierro (Spain); Zinedine Zidane (France) and; Fabio Cannavaro (Italy).