The reputable research group CIES Football Observatory has clearly ruled Nigeria out of contention for the Russia 2018 World Cup trophy.
In the group’s latest weekly post, Super Eagles are ranked the 22nd best out of the 32 teams that will be in Russia for the competition which kicks off June 14.
The CIES study looked at the number of matches players played in the 2018 World Cup qualification stage and how they were involved in at domestic league level since July 2017 and the profile of clubs that they featured for before arriving at the decision that ranks Spain as the favourite for the title.
Nigeria’s Group D foes at the World Cup in Russia, Argentina and Croatia, are ranked seventh and eighth respectively in the table with Iceland coming in as 23rd best behind Nigeria. The prediction also ultimately ranks Nigeria outside the teams to qualify from the group.
Among the five African countries that will participate in the Mundial, the Eagles are ranked the third best behind Senegal, who are ranked the most likely African nation to spring a surprise and then Morocco. Egypt are the least ranked outsiders among the African nations behind Tunisia.
But despite the prediction, the Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick, insists the Eagles are capable of springing a surprise in Russia by going all the way to the final to win the trophy. This week, team captain Mikel Obi also restated his belief in the conquering ability of the Eagles.
Pinnick said, “People ask why I say that Nigeria can win the World Cup? If you have a child, what do you wish for the child- for him to be the best and nothing else. And if you have a younger brother, what do you pray for him to achieve? So, I don’t have any regret saying that Nigeria can win the World Cup.”