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Nigeria World Cup draw factbox

Nigeria were the first African team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup and their youthful side will be looking to reach the knock-out stages for the first time in 16 years.

The Super Eagles proved to be a team ahead of their time when they won the African Nations Cup at the start of the year, way ahead of the schedule coach Stephen Keshi had set for his young team.

Keshi had said before the tournament in January he was building a new-look side with an eye on being competitive at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and pleaded for patience as he began his project.

Just weeks later Nigeria had fast tracked his plans by winning the tournament in South Africa and will now hope they can have the same impact in Brazil, four years ahead of schedule.

Qualifying for a fifth World Cup finals appearance, Nigeria have not reached the final 16 since France 1998 and they will hope to do better in Brazil, where they failed to get out of their group in the Confederations Cup in June. The continental champions had a strong qualifying campaign and were unbeaten throughout, conceding just four goals in their eight games and beating Ethiopia 4-1 in the two-legged playoff.

Keshi had purged the squad of some supposedly key players and left pundits bewildered by his team selection but he had the last laugh as Nigeria emerged as a credible force for the 2014 finals.

Coach: Stephen Keshi

Keshi was one of the first high profile playing exports from Nigeria, playing at Anderlecht and Racing Strasbourg in France.

He captained his country to the 1994 African Cup of Nations title and was also captain at Nigeria’s first World Cup appearance in the United States the same year, but played in just one of the four matches.

The 51-year-old,describes coaching Togo to qualification for the 2006 World Cup finals as the highlight of his coaching career.

But a fallout with star player Emmanuel Adebayor saw him replaced in Germany.

Key player: Victor Moses

Moses moved to England from Lagos aged 11 and played at Under-21 level for his new country before switching his allegiance to Nigeria.

In a heady 2012, he won his first cap in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Rwanda in February and then transferred from Wigan Athletic to Chelsea.

He has since netted vital goals for Nigeria in both Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup action.

Injury kept him out of the Confederation Cup in Brazil earlier this year, but he moved soon after on loan to Liverpool.

And more minutes on the pitch for his club mean Moses will be hoping to have a big impact for the Super Eagles in Brazil.

How they qualified: One of five direct African qualifiers

2012

June 3 Namibia H W 1-0 I Uche
June 9 Malawi A D 1-1 Egwuekwe

2013

March 23 Kenya H D 1-1 Oduamadi
June 5 Kenya A W 1-0 Musa
June 12 Namibia A D 1-1 Oboabona
Sept 7 Malawi H W 2-0 Emenike, Moses (pen)

Playoff

Oct 13 Ethiopia A W 2-1 Emenike 2 (1 pen)
Nov 16 Ethiopia H W 2-0 Moses (pen), Obinna

World Cup record:

Previous appearances: 4 (1994, 1998, 2002, 2010)
Best performances: Second round 1994, 1998.










Source: Vanguard




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