President Goodluck Jonathan
By Duro Ikhazugbe and Muhammad Bello
President Goodluck Jonathan, aboard the Presidential Jet NAF One celebrated Super Eagles’ semi-final win against Mali on his way to London from Egypt on Wednesday.
According to his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr Rueben Abati, “Mr. President was delighted with the performance of the team considering the fact that he had a tele-conference with them prior to the important match.
“He was delighted with the outcome of the match and has urged them not to relent in their effort to bring the cup after another resounding victory in Sunday’s final match.”
President Jonathan had attended the meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Egypt and he is likely to lead top dignitaries from Nigeria to the final match against the Stallions of Burkina Faso.
Meanwhile, after a comprehensive 4-1 semi-final victory over the Aiglons of Mali on Wednesday in Durban, the Super Eagles players have quickly put the victory behind them as the team arrived Johannesburg, South Africa Thursday afternoon to begin preparations for the final on Sunday at the Soccer City in Soweto.
The team arrived Johannesburg at about 1:45pm local time aboard a South Africa Airways plane. In the aircraft with the team was the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Executive Committee member, Deji Tinubu; NFF Technical Director, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme; and Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor, Prince Wale Oladunjoye, among other dignitaries.
The team was immediately ferried to its abode at Garden Court Milpark from the airport and after having lunch, got set for the day’s business of training.
The team had its first training session at 6:30pm local time, which is 5:30pm Nigerian time, with Head Coach Stephen Keshi saying there is no time to waste ahead of Sunday’s all important final which is expected to be watched by several Nigerians and international dignitaries including President Jonathan, FIFA President Sepp Blatter and South African President Jacob Zuma.
Keshi has meanwhile, said there should be no panic over the duo of Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike, who picked up knocks in the semi-final duel against Mali.
“The medical team here is working round the clock to ensure that they will be ready for the final on Sunday and they will advise us on what to do at the appropriate time,” he said.
NFF President Aminu Maigari has said that the entire nation of Nigeria will be mobilised to back the team in Sunday’s final and urged the team not to relent until the trophy is won.
“The win over Cote d'Ivoire is history, same for the one over Mali; now the trophy is within reach and I must urge you to go ahead and do the nation proud and like President Goodluck Jonathan said leave the rest to the government and people of Nigeria,” he said