Eagles over cloud, ready to soar – NFF


Seyi Akinwunmi, the first Vice-President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), on Tuesday said the Super Eagles had put behind them the disappointment of defeat by Croatia to face the next matches.

He said that the Eagles were now ready to go for the maximum points in their remaining encounters in Group D at the FIFA World Cup.

Akinwunmi’s words of assurance were contained in a statement by the Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, on Tuesday in Lagos.

He quoted the Chairman of NFF organising committee saying the football house is expecting a match winning performance against Iceland on Friday.

“Akinwunmi told a gathering of the cream of Nigeria’s media representatives in Saint Petersburg that the NFF expected a match-winning performance from the three-time African champions against Iceland on Friday.

“Like all Nigerians back home, and like the team itself, the NFF was not happy with the loss to Croatia. But the Eagles have climbed that cloud now and ready to conquer.

“They have put behind them the defeat and looking ahead with determination to the remaining two games.

“I can confirm to you that the team is not lacking motivation in any way. Our agreement with them was that they would get their entire money for the group phase once they qualify.”

He added that “it is not a match-by-match basis. So, they are aware that if they win the remaining matches or just achieve the minimum to qualify from the group.

“’Regardless of this, they will still earn the money for all three matches.”

Akinwunmi praised Sports and Youth Development Minister, Solomon Dalung, for rallying Nigerians behind the team and staying behind in Russia to support the team in the remaining matches.

“We cannot fully express our appreciation to the Sports Minister, who has called on Nigerians to keep supporting the team and personally expressed belief in the team’s ability to reach the knockout rounds.

“We still have him with us here in Russia and he will lead the delegation to the match against Iceland in Volgograd.

“The Sports Minister led a Federal Government delegation to Russia and led the delegation to Kaliningrad for the first match, alongside the Nigeria Ambassador, Prof. Steve Davies Ugbah.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to speak to the team before the match, adding that government support is total for the team.

According to him, motivation is huge, so they have no reason not to go all out on Friday.

“Dalung also greatly inspired the Eagles during the qualifying race, personally leading the delegation to the matches in Zambia and Cameroon.

“He was also on ground in Uyo for all the home matches against Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.

“It is now left for the team to go all out and give Nigerians joy by winning their remaining games.

“He also disclosed that the Eagles will depart their Essentuki team camp in the Stavropol region of Russia to Volgograd on Thursday, ahead of Friday evening’s clash,’’ the statement read in part. (NAN)