The recently concluded 2022 FIFA World Cup saw Morocco’s Atlas Lions become the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the competition, surpassing the quarter-final achievements of Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana ( 2010).
The Super Eagles for their part have never made it past the World Cup round of 16 after losing three times to Italy (in 1994), Denmark (in 1998) and France (in 2014).
But according to the CAF chief, Nigeria has what it takes to surpass even Morocco’s Qatar 2022 feat and win the award, only if things go in the right places.
Nigeria can win the FIFA World Cup
Speaking in an interview with Channels TV as quoted by Soccernet, Motsepe revealed that Nigeria would need to focus on youth football development to thrive on the world stage.
“I am absolutely confident because of the talent, the God-given skills and the history of Nigerian football,” said the 60-year-old South African.
“Nigeria is one of those countries that has the potential, not just to go to the semi-final, not just to go to the final, but to win the World Cup.
“However, they need to focus on youth football development, boys and girls football facilities, amateur football and football development at club level.
“They have to train coaches and train the trainers. Nigeria has to develop referees and more importantly make sure we work together with the Nigerian Football Federation so they can continue the leadership they have provided for many years.”
Based on experience, Nigeria can make Africa proud
The Super Eagles were one of the big names to miss out on the Qatar-hosted tournament with Morocco, Senegal, Cameroon, Tunisia and Ghana representing Africa in the Middle Eastern nation.
However, with Africa guaranteed nine berths in the 2026 World Cup that will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico, Nigeria could return to the world stage.
According to Motsepe, the hope is that Nigeria will always be present to represent Africa in the main events.
“We are confident that Nigerian football will continue to be among the best not only in Africa but in the world. I know that Nigeria will do us proud as they have on so many occasions in the past. Our plan is to see Nigeria in the next World Cup,” he said.
Next on the schedule for the Super Eagles is the upcoming qualifying round for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. Nigeria is due to play Guinea-Bissau in March.