NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari
President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari said on Thursday that he has no doubt the Super Eagles will overpower their Zambian counterparts when both teams clash at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday in the on-going 29th Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Speaking at his Emnotweni Hotel in Nelspruit as Nigeria football’s top hierarchy countenances Friday’s clash of titans, Maigari insisted that nothing had been lost and won by any of the teams in the group and that it would be like a fresh start on Friday evening.
“We have one goal for, one against and a point, just as each of the other three teams in the group. Yes, we would have loved to have the three points against Burkina Faso, moreso when we came so close to doing so, but football sometimes presents unexpected and dazzling conclusions.
“Nigerians don’t cry over spilt milk; it is not our attitude. So we take it that everyone is equal and nothing definite has happened in the group. Everyone is starting on a fresh note and the Super Eagles are ready to make hay.”
Nigeria confront the Africa champions days after a final-second blunder enabled the Etalons of Burkina Faso to earn a point in the two teams’ opening match of Group C.
The Chipolopolo were also a goal up and with one man advantage against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia before conceding a second half equalizer at the same venue on Monday.
Nigeria football top officials are refusing to be bothered by a statement credited to Zambia Coach Herve Renard on the margin of the tournament, to the effect that the Eagles are ordinary.
“That statement has no weight; the young man was only playing mind games but our own Coach’s refusal to even dignify him with a reply shows uncommon maturity. I think such maturity by our players on the field on Friday will determine the match in our favour,” stated Chief Emeka Inyama, chairman of the NFF Media and Publicity Committee.
Also speaking in Nelspruit, on arrival on Thursday, chairman of the NFF Technical Committee, Chris Green said: “Please tell Nigerians that there is nothing to worry about. The Super Eagles will be in business against the Zambians on Friday. I have spoken to Coach Keshi and he says there is no shaking. The Zambians will be out to prove that they are truly the champions of Africa, so the pressure will be on them.
“Our game plan and team selection will be key. But we will get both right,” pledged Green.
And despite Monday’s final-second error that cost Nigeria two precious points against Burkina Faso in Nelspruit, chairman of the House of Reps’ Committee on Sports, Honourable Godfrey Gaiya says he retains unwavering confidence in the Super Eagles.
The Eagles take the pitch against Cup holders Zambia at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday evening, with both teams tied at one point for and one goal for, one against after their first matches.
Gaiya, who also spoke in Nelspruit on Thursday evening, said Friday will be Nigeria’s day of glory and that the Eagles will not look back afterwards.
“Mistakes were made in the game against Burkina Faso but football is sometimes so unkind. However, those who work hard enough do reap in the end. The Super Eagles prepared very well for this competition thanks to the tireless efforts of the NFF leadership, and I believe they will live up to expectations on Friday.
“Zambia cannot stop Nigeria at this Africa Cup of Nations.”