Despite being handed what appears to be a relatively straightforward 2022 world cup qualifying draw, Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr and combative midfielder Wilfred Ndidi have warned against any sense of complacency.
Nigeria were drawn in Group C alongside Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia in Tuesday’s draws held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, Cairo, Egypt.
On the surface, the 78th-ranked Blue Sharks of Cape Verde, the 109th-ranked Wild Beasts of the Central Africa Republic, and the 152nd-ranked Lone Star of Liberia should present scant challenge for the 31st-ranked three-time African champions.
However, in remarks published on the Super Eagles’ Twitter account, Rohr and Leicester midfielder Ndidi said underestimating Nigeria’s group opponents could have severe repercussions in the race for Qatar 2022.
“This is the World Cup, no room for complacency. Every game must be taken seriously. Our first game is going to be the most important as well as all our home games, and even away games. We must make it to the 3rd round,” Ndidi said.
Similarly, Rohr said the Super Eagles must be at their best to navigate past their “three tricky opponents”.
“We’ve 3 tricky opponents in Group C. A few years ago, Cape Verde were Africa’s best FIFA ranked team, CAR have some good players in Europe and we played a friendly in Liberia recently that wasn’t easy…we’ve to be at our best against them.”
Nigeria’s world cup qualifying campaign will begin in October this year when they go up against the Lone Star of Liberia.
The Super Eagles and the Lone Star faced off during qualifying for the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea.
The Lone stars edged the Super Eagles by two goals to one in Monrovia, before the Super Eagles earned a 2-0 win with goals from Nwankwo Kanu and Victor Agali at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt in the return fixture.