Nigeria are World Cup underdogs

Nigeria are World Cup underdogs

Nigeria’s “underdog” football squad need to play together and not as individuals, captain John Mikel Obi said, with the team acknowledging they face a tough group stage at the World Cup in Russia next month.

Balogun completes Brighton move

Balogun completes Brighton move

Brighton & Hove Albion have signed Nigerian international defender Leon Balogun from Mainz on a two year deal.

Nigeria vs DR Congo still on

Nigeria vs DR Congo still on

Nigeria's sports minister on Monday gave the green light for a World Cup warm-up match against the Democratic Republic of Congo despite a fresh outbreak of Ebola.

Atletico selection beat Nigeria

Atletico selection beat Nigeria

Europa League winners Atletico Madrid beat a Nigerian selection 3-2 in a friendly on Tuesday at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

Benfica sign Ebuehi

Benfica sign Ebuehi

Benfica have completed the signing of Nigeria international defender Tyronne Ebuehi from ADO Den Haag in Holland.

Hard work the key for Iheanacho

Hard work the key for Iheanacho

The World Cup in Russia is another chance for Kelechi Iheanacho to shine on the world stage.

In 2014 Nigeria claimed the U-17 World Cup and Iheanacho was named the best player at the tournament.

"It was a great honour and I can't express how I felt that day. I was asking my teammates and the coaches if it was me. I couldn't believe that I was going to be the best player in the tournament.

"It's my dream to play for my country,and it's a dream come true.

"Football is my life and everything thing I do is football. I love it."

Iheanacho began his career at the Two academy in Owerri before his tournament winning performance at the World Cup earned him a move to Manchester City.

"It was January and so cold I couldn't move my feet. I couldn't stop thigh and had to keep going because that's football."

Iheanacho spent two years in the City first team squad before moving to Leicester after failing to break into a team full of internationals.

The World Cup is the perfect opportunity to show Nigeria's improving standards.

"We have a great squad. Players playing around the world scoring week in and week out. Everyone is doing great, competing well so we will have a great squad to compete in the World Cup.

"It's not an easy to thing to do, qualifying for a World Cup.

"It means a lot, so much for Nigerians. I don't know how to explain it, but if you came to Nigeria you'd see that football is one of the things making Nigerians happy."

Off the pitch there is a growing camaraderie often demonstrated in their social media videos.

"I love music and will listen and dance to anything. The team see me as a funny guy but I think everyone in the team is funny. It's a lovely fun environment to be in.

"Alex Iwobi is my roommate in camp and we tend to stick together."

Iheanacho hopes that the World Cup will lead to both international and individual success.

"I really want to see an African win the Ballon d'Or. We come from Africa to Europe to play football and have to adapt the rhythm and culture and it's always a little bit difficult. I think Africans are doing great but we need to do more. Any opportunity we get we need to take it."

Nigeria have the stiffest of opposition in group D with Argentina, Croatia and Iceland. Iheanacho will need to be at the top of his game.

"I'll be happy to be selected and part of the team. I'll do my best to get us to the level that we need to be at. I'll give everything. More than 100 percent. I don't feel any pressure. I just need to keep working hard every day so when I get my chance I take it."

If Iheanacho could take the ultimate player to Russia from Nigeria it would be a composite of Iwobi"s right foot, his own left foot, the intelligence and heart of Mikel, fitness of Abdullahi Shehu, and speed of Ahmed Musa.

Nigeria pick provisional squad

Nigeria pick provisional squad

Tianjin Teda midfielder John Obi Mikel was named as Nigeria captain when the country’s provisional 30-man squad for the 2018 World Cup was released on Monday.

Torunarigha snubs Nigeria

Torunarigha snubs Nigeria

Gernot Rohr is disappointed following the decision of Jordan Torunarigha to turn down an opportunity to feature for Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup.

Arsenal training boosts Iwobi

Arsenal training boosts Iwobi

Alex Iwobi has says that training with talented players at Arsenal should stand him in good stead for Nigeria’s World Cup campaign.

Leeds maintain Mbakogu interest

Leeds maintain Mbakogu interest

Leeds United are continuing to weigh up a move for Carpi’s Jerry Mbakogu after the Nigerian striker secured Italian citizenship and the right to move to English football.

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