The secretary-general of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Dr Mohammed Sanusi has charged the Super Eagles to go all out and win a fourth continental title for Nigeria at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, sportsdayonline.com reports.
Sanusi stated as much while giving a send forth message before the team left Abuja late Wednesday for Cameroon, where they will tango seven-time winners, Egypt in their first group match on Tuesday, after the competition starts this Sunday.
The NFF scribe is of a view that the current set of players in the Eagles are professional enough to know the implications of winning the continental soccer showpiece, hence his charge to them to go further than the bronze medal the team hooked at the 2019 edition in Egypt, after last winning it at South Africa 2013.
With eight bronze medals, four silver and three titles to the Eagles’ credit, Nigeria’s harvest of 15 podium appearances in 18 participations is the highest tally by any country in Africa’s flagship football championship.
The only times Nigeria ended without any form of medal were in their debut in 1963, Libya ’82 and Ghana 2008, but they won the trophy three times (1980, 1994 and 2013), while also placing second in 1984, 1988, 1990 and 2000.
The Eagles also hold the largest haul of bronze medals at this level, following the feats of 1976, 1978, 1992, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2019, but Sanusi stressed that the target this year must be gold, because of the quality of players on offer under the interim coach, Augustine Eguavoen.
While addressing them before they flew out aboard Air Peace at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Sanusi said he is convinced that all players that will represent Nigeria at the championship are good enough to lift the trophy and earn a fourth triumph for the country.
In response, captain of the team, Ahmed Musa, who was part of the squad that won the trophy nine years ago at South Africa 2013, said he is confident that the present selection will return to Nigeria with the trophy after the final on 6th February.
Before the Eagles’ flight to Cameroon, sports minister, Chief Sunday Dare hosted the players, officials and coaches to a send-forth dinner for the team at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Tuesday night, with guests in attendance including Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Ismail Abubakar.
Also present were NFF 2nd Vice President, Mallam Shehu Dikko; NFF Executive Member, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau; Director of FEAD, Dr Simon Ebhojiaye; NFF Director of Finance, Mr Charity Kadiri; NFF Director of Communications, Mr Ademola Olajire and some officials of the Ministry.
Sanusi stated in his send forth message: “I wish you good luck at the tournament on behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria.
“We know how professional you are and we know you will take the same temperament to the AFCON. We pray against injuries and covid-related health issues.
“The NFF is ready to give you all the support that you need, on behalf of the Government of Nigeria. Some of us will also be coming to give you the necessary support and encouragement.
“The NFF President, Mr Amaju Pinnick who is also a member of the AFCON Organizing Committee will join you in Cameroon in two days time.”