Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdulahi
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Sports Minister Bolaji Abdulahi Monday discussed the primacy of this weekend’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Rwanda with the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The federation was represented at the meeting by board chairman, Aminu Maigari and General Secretary Musa Amadu.
Chairman NFF Technical Committee, Chris Green, told reporters that the briefing with Abdulahi was only a routine briefing with the secretariat.
But we squalled that Abdulahi had called the NFF to sum up the need to for the Eagles to beat the Wasps of Rwanda in a reverse fixture of the Africa Cup qualifier on Saturday in Calabar after the Eagles recent unconvincing displays.
The winner of the match will progress to the last elimination phase of the tournament billed to hold in South Africa in next year.
Nigeria and Rwanda played out a goalless draw in the first leg played in Kigali in March.
But while the details of what transpired between Abdulahi and the NFF were only to be guessed, Green told reporters that an outright victory is not negotiable for the Super Eagles.
“I don’t know the tone of the meeting with the honourable minister, but what for us, the Eagles have no option other than to beat Rwanda in Calabar. We anticipate a tough game because Rwanda will play for either a win or a score draw,” Green said.
There is a burden on expectation is on the Eagles is on the heel of a stoppage time goal they conceded to draw 1-1 with Malawi in Blantyre on Sunday in a Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Malawi had capitalized on a rare howler by stand in captain, Vincent Enyeama, who dropped a cross that allowed the Flames to split the points after Gabriel Ruben had put Nigeria ahead.
According to Green, the federation was satisfied with outcome of the match and would continue to support the Eagles coach Stephen Keshi.
“We have no qualms with the outcome of the match in Blantyre. An away draw is better than a loss. There are no more minnows in Africa football. Keshi has the backing of the committee for the job he is doing. We will support all his programmes,” Green said.
Green also refused to hang Enyeama for his late error by insisting his defence went to sleep as they failed to provide the cover up for him at the time of need.