“You Must Play Fair and Clean”, President Buhari Tells Super Eagles
President Muhammadu Buhari has charged Nigeria’s Super Eagles to play fair and clean at the World Cup, “but demonstrate the gallant spirit which Nigerians are known for.”
He announced the charge yesterday on his twitter account (@MBuhari), after he hosted the team to a farewell reception held at the State House, as they prepare to depart for Russia 2018. President Buhari tweeted: “Today I welcomed the @NGSuperEagles to the State House for a farewell reception as they prepare to depart to #Russia2018. They have the full support and blessings of all Nigerians. We are all looking forward to the tournament and will be cheering them all the way!”
Nigeria will make her sixth appearance at the FIFA World Cup, in Russia 2018. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup.
Nigeria’s first appearance at the World Cup was in 1994. This country reached the second round of the competition in that outing and repeated that record in 1998 and 2014. Those records have been Nigeria’s best at the World Cup.
Thus, part of President Buhari’s pep talk to the Super Eagles conveyed these words:“With each game you must remember that you are carrying the passions, emotions and feelings of over 180 million people. You must play fair and clean, but demonstrate the gallant spirit which Nigerians are known for.”
The Super Eagles were led to the State House by Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung and Chairman of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick.
The team’s twitter account (@NGSuperEagles) states that John Mikel Obi, Captain of the team, told President Buhari that: “We would like to say a massive thank you for what you’ve been doing for Nigerian football. This is the first time that we’re going to a competition like this with no issues of money/bonuses. All we have to do now is go out there and make Nigeria proud.”
Croatia would be Nigeria’s first opponents in Russia 2018. The game would be played on June 16. Iceland and Argentina, Nigeria’s next opponents in Group D, would also face each other on June 16.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles departed Nigeria for London, United Kingdom, yesterday. Four players, namely, Uche Agbo, Stephen Eze, Dele Ajiboye and Junior Lokosa, Nigeria’s Professional Football League’s top scorer, have been dropped from the team’s provisional 30 – man list.
Apart from Victor Moses who joined the team’s London camp from London today, all other players, including Moses Simon who is nursing an injury, joined the team in yesterday’s flight from Nigeria, aboard a chartered aircraft.
Although Simon had been ruled out of the World Cup due to the result of a scan that reportedly showed that he will be out for three to four weeks, it is expected that a further scan will be carried out on him in London, to ascertain his suitability for inclusion in the final list.
Simon played a key role in ensuring Nigeria’s qualification for the World Cup, as exemplified in the goal that he scored in Yaounde, against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. That match ended 1-1 and consolidated Nigeria’s place at the top of Group B of Africa’s final round of World Cup qualifiers.
Unfortunately, Simon got injured last Friday in Uyo, during training.
The Super Eagles would play against England’s national team in a pre – World Cup friendly in Wembley, London, this Saturday.
Facebook: Cornelius Ellah
Source of feature image: Twitter (@MBuhari)