The Nigeria Football Federation believes the much-adored Nigerian Spirit will come to the fore and ginger the Super Eagles to solidify their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign when they take on the Les Fauves of Central African Republic in Douala on Sunday.
President of the NFF and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick said on Thursday night that the Eagles have the character to bounce back from the shock home defeat by the central Africans and still fly very high above other contenders in Group C of the African race by taking the maximum points in Douala on Sunday.
“This result has been a huge shock, especially after the NFF provided everything necessary to make the team comfortable and focused on the task at hand, even going the extra mile in a number of areas. The Federation wishes to appreciate the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government and our partners and sponsors for their support to enable us to provide the necessary comfort and conducive environment for the team to succeed.
“This is a setback, which can be quickly reversed, and the Nigerian Spirit is what we will take to Cameroon. The NFF is backing the team to retain a stronghold on the group and qualify for the knockout phase.
“At the halfway mark of this phase, our Super Eagles still top the group. I am in touch with even the players that are injured like Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Alex Iwobi. They are all very sad about the result. The players who featured in today’s match are all very sober and sad. They know what is important now is their reaction to the situation when they take to the pitch in Douala on Sunday. We believe they will deliver against the same team.”
Pinnick said the NFF was taking responsibility for the defeat and urged Nigerians from far and near to get behind the team at this period.
“Everyone is stunned, but we do not have to be emotional or negative about things. The same team defeated Liberia here in Lagos and Cape Verde away. They still have that ability to deliver. As a Football Federation, we take responsibility for this defeat. We believe things will change positively in three days. We also believe that this loss is a massive wake-up call and could be the springboard to reset and motivate the team to keep giving their all to not only qualify for the World Cup but to perform well in Qatar.”
Nigeria remains top of Group C with six points, two more than both Cape Verde (who defeated Liberia’s Lone Star in Monrovia) and the Central African Republic, with Liberia bumped to bottom place.
33 Export buoys Eagles’ spirit
NFF partner, Nigerian Breweries PLC did its bit to show the Super Eagles love and rekindle the belief that they can ‘turn this around’ after Thursday’s home loss to Central African Republic’s Les Fauves in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Lagos
The company, through its 33 Export (Official Beer of the Super Eagles) organized a dinner for the players and officials at the Sky Lounge of the Eko Hotels & Suites where it presented an actual cheque of N1million (One Million Naira Only) to Kelechi Iheanacho for emerging Man-of-the-Match in the team’s earlier home game against Liberia in September.
Iheanacho’s brace in that game handed the Eagles all three points on Day 1 of the qualifying series.
The presentation was made by NB PLC’s Head of Media Strategy, Wasiu Ola Abiola and Senior Brand Manager, Aisha Aniekwe.
Popular musician M1 entertained at the dinner with guests expressing confidence that the team can indeed firm up leadership of Group C after Sunday’s clash in Douala and go ahead to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.