Abuja – Turkey’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mustafa Pulat, on Sunday in Abuja said Nigeria’s Super Eagles have “a good chance’’ of excelling at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in June.
Pulat said his submission was on the basis of Nigeria’s pedigree in football, as well as quality of players and the element of luck.
“Nigeria is a strong football nation, and with this it has a strong chance of doing well at Brazil 2014.
“Moreover, Nigeria has a rich football tradition, going by what the likes of Daniel Amokachi, Austin Okocha, Uche Okechukwu and Joseph Yobo have done.
“Nigeria also has a qualitative player in Emmanuel Emenike, and with luck coming into it, the Super Eagles can make it to the second round at least. From there, anything can happen,’’ he said.
The ambassador also said the Super Eagles would get it right by being motivated by the fact that they were playing at the highest level of the game.
“The World Cup is the highest level of all football competitions, and teams get motivated into doing better at that point.
“This can happen to Nigeria, and then the element of luck comes into play too,’’ he said.
Pulat however tipped Nigeria to join Argentina in picking the two second round tickets from Group F, with Bosnia-Herzegovina having an outside chance of dislodging Nigeria.
“Argentina is sure for a ticket, with Nigeria picking the second ticket. But Bosnia-Herzegovina can spring a surprise too to challenge Nigeria for the other ticket,’’ he said.
The Turkish diplomat said further that it was going to be difficult to predict the competition’s winners.
“It is difficult to tell who will lift the Cup after the final on July 13, but it is usually normal to expect it to be between Brazil and Spain. They are always one of those at the top.
“But it is hard to assess now, until the end of the first round. This is because most of the players expected there are still in their various leagues and it is difficult to assess them for now,’’ he said.
Pulat was however unsure of whether an African team would be able to win the trophy this time around.
He said it needed more than being competitive for an African side to win the World Cup.
“The draws, for one, always have a strong impact on what the African teams can do. But it is a fact that African teams are always good and competitive. However, football is always full of surprises.
“But it will be good for the Cup to come to Africa, only that this will take a lot to happen,’’ the ambassador said.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles are in Group F at the 32-team FIFA World Cup scheduled for June 12 to July 13 in Brazil.
They have been grouped alongside Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran.(NAN)