NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari
Nigeria returned to the African Cup of Nations in emphatic fashion when the Super Eagles pounded the visiting Lone Star 6-1 at the U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar on Saturday.
And at the final whistle, NFF President Aminu Maigari pledged that the Federation will deploy all resources to ensure the team is well prepared to lift the Cup of Nations trophy in South Africa in four months time.
An overjoyed Maigari, who was in company with Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, Minister of Sports/Chairman, National
Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Chairman of Senate Sports Committee, Senator Adamu Gumba, Chairman of House Sports Committee, Hon. Godfrey Gaiya and members of his Executive Committee and Management, simply said: “Words are inadequate to express my delight.
“We will do everything to ensure that the team prepares well, very well to go to South Africa and lift the trophy, which is what His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR) has charged us to do.”
The match was watched by a full house at Canaan City, who supported the Eagles all the way and were rewarded with a rain of goals.
A year ago, Maigari and his NFF team watched shellshocked as Guinea equalized with 30 seconds left in the final qualifier in Abuja, rendering the Super Eagles ineligible for the 2012 finals co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
The scenes were markedly, and understandably, different in Calabar on Saturday evening, only six days after the U-20 National Team, Flying Eagles, qualified for the 2013 African Youth Championship with a 3-0 spanking of South Africa in Ilorin.
“This has been a very good year for Nigeria football. We have qualified for all major competitions and have not done badly in anyone that we have gone,” said High Chief Emeka Inyama, Chairman of the NFF's Media and Publicity Committee.
Inyama was referring to the U-20 and U-17 Women Teams’ qualification and participation at FIFA tournaments in Japan and Azerbaijan respectively, the Super Falcons’ imminent participation at the 8th African Women Championship in Equatorial Guinea and the Flying Eagles’ and Super Eagles’ qualification for next year’s continental finals.
The only competition left for Nigeria to qualify for this year is the 2013 African U-17 Championship, and the Golden Eaglets continue the journey with a second round, first leg clash with their counterparts from Guinea on Sunday, also at the U. J. Esuene Stadium.
The Eaglets humiliated the U-17 National Team of Niger 10-1 in the first round, to qualify for this stage.
Meanwhile, Pamodzi, the official marketer of NFF, coughed out $1000 for each goal scored by the Eagles on Saturday.