WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFIER
- Â Redeems $30,000 for three goals scored against Algeria
Super Eagles claim to be one of the football powers in Africa will be tested to the limit this evening at the Nest of Champions in Uyo as reigning AFCON 2017 kings, Cameroon, battles Nigeria for the three points at stake.
This first game of the double-header World Cup 2018 qualifiers with the Indomitable Lions this weekend, will determine whether Nigeria will consolidate or drop points to the Paul Biyaâ€™s men.
Nigeria with maximum six points from the first two matches of the Group B
is four points better than second-placed Cameroon, who arrived Uyo yesterday with the toga of African champions.
A win here will take Nigeria to nine points, needing just one more victory to seal qualification to Russia 2018.
But the Lions, who believe so much in their power play, that is, using their physique and aggressive style, would want to prove to the hosts that they are the African champions!
Of course, Eagles have missed the continental showpiece on two occasions back-to-back. That however should be the reason why Gernot Rohr and his men need no more prodding to pick the points off the aggressive Cameroonians here before heading to Yaounde on Sunday for the reverse fixture on Monday evening. Nigeria can afford to gift the Lions the three points in Yaounde after todayâ€™s win. Anything short of victory in Uyo could spell doom for Nigeria in this competition.
However, it is all in the bid to prevent this that Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, at a meeting with Eagles and their handlers yesterday, offered to pay a mouth-watering $10,000 for every goal scored against the Cameroonians at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium today.
The banker-turned politician knows the weight of a promise. Gov. Emmanuel
redeemed the $30,000 he promised Eagles for the three goals they scored against Algeria in the earlier match here in Uyo.
He reiterated his promise to mobilise support for team to ensure total victory against the Indomitable Lions.
â€œWe are here because there is nothing as good as appreciating people, especially when the people are working for the general good. A love not expressed is a love wasted and so we are here to tell you that we appreciate what you are doing for Nigeria.
â€œI also want to tell you that no matter how wild a cat is, there is a place you will hold it and it will not be able to harm you. Go there and win the game for us,â€ was the governorâ€™s battle cry to the Eagles.
Captain of the team, John Mikel Obi, who has promised his Russian in-laws that Nigeria must qualify for the Mundial apologised to Nigerians for the 2-0 loss to South Africa in the AFCON 2019 qualifier, assuring them that Eagles are here to make amends with victory over Cameroon.
He said the team has been training hard for the game and would show Nigerians that they are hungry to be at the World Cup.
The former Chelsea midfielder stressed that a win here today will help strengthen his personal ambition of a second World Cup appearance.
â€œI think the players know what is at stake here. The players always know what the task ahead is all about despite winning our opening games. We want to go to the World Cup. We have to win games and make sure we are focused all the time and also play well. The truth is you can’t play well in every game; a win is a win.
â€œWe just want to win. It doesn’t matter how well we play. I am sure the players all know that is the most important thing and I always speak to some of them and let them know how important it is to play for this country and how important it is to go to the World Cup and the Nations Cup. So on Friday (today), we can hopefully get a win and move close to qualifying for the World Cup,” observed Mikel.