The Super Eagles of Nigeria have been urged to make the nation proud as this year’s African Cup of Nations gets ready to kick off this Saturday.
Members of the senior national soccer team were charged to go for Gold and bring the AFCON Cup back to Nigeria in grand style by improving on their previous performance at the tournament by targeting the 2013 African Cup of Nations cup which the nation has been expecting for long.
President Goodluck Jonathan handed down the charge Wednesday at the Federal Executive Council (FEC), urging the team to ensure that it makes the country the best team of the tournament.
Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, disclosed at the end of the Council’s meeting that the President who led members of the FEC in a prayer session for the Super Eagles urged the team to perform in a manner that reflects the Nigeria’s status as Africa’s giant.
He said the Eagles are well prepared to take on their opponent in the opening match and Nigerians should expect the best from the team.
The minister explained that President Jonathan has called on the players to bring laurels to the country.
Abdullahi pointed out that Nigeria’s absence at the medal tables in major outings recently was most unacceptable.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Sonni Yusuf, has expressed satisfaction with the facilities at the disposal of the Super Eagles for the AFCON.
Yusuf told NAN in Johannesburg that the team got the best hotel allocated to it.
“I must say that the Super Eagles, of the four teams in the group, have the best facilities; the hotel has two standard training pitches located within its precincts.
“We also intend to meet with the LOC on the issue of accreditation for key government officials to have access to the team and to discuss other logistics required for the team.
Manager Steven Keshi says Eagles Claws have sharpened better now than before
Meanwhile, Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said he was confident of his squad bringing the nation’s pride back , claiming that they are prepared for the Cup to be taken back to Nigeria. His claim is coming as the national flag bearer proved a determined side when the pulled down the Portuguese second Division side, Farense, beating them 5-0 in a AFCON pre-tournament friendly.
Nigeria defeated Farense 5 to nil in the last game of their warm-up preparations match to cushion its confidence.
Despite heading to South Africa with 17 debutants, the Super Eagles go into the tournament as one of the favourites and Keshi has assured that the his new initiuative of exporing the home grown more may yield better fortune and reinforcing the nation’s hopes.
“The team on the ground is well prepared for action at the 2013 Nations Cup and again I urge Nigerians to line up behind the team in a bid to bring greater glory to the country at the tourney,” Keshi said, Media Officer Ben Alaiya, quoting him
The Eagles followed up their 0-0 draw against Cape Verde with a 1-0 victory over Dutch first division club Sparta Rotterdam.