WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFIER
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) early hours of tuesday announced full bonuses for Super Eagles players and officials for the 1-1 draw with the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Yaounde on Monday evening.
This gesture from the NFF is coming on the heels of the crucial Match day 5 clash of the World Cup 2018 qualifier with Zambia in Uyo on October 7.
President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick, made the announcement of the full bonus of $5,000 to each of the 23 Super Eagles players on board the ARIK Air Bombadier CRJ 1000 aircraft flying the Nigerian delegation back from Yaounde on Tuesday morning.
The African champions fought back valiantly in the second half to equalize Nigeriaâ€™s one goal lead from first half. Moses Simon gave Eagles the edge in the 30th minute to silent the partisan Cameroonian fans.
Apparently satisfied with the valuable four points Nigeria snatched from the six at stake against Cameroon, Pinnick, offered to further lift the morale of the Eagles with the full bonus for a master-class performance.
â€œWhen the draw was made last year, people said ours was the Group of Death. But you have stayed very much alive with scintillating performances and done the nation very proud,â€ began the NFF chief who is also a CAF executive committee member.
With Nigeria comfortably in charge of the Group B of the Russia 2018 qualifiers and only needing a draw against the Chipolopolo to seal the passage to the Mundial, Pinnick insisted that Nigeria will not take anything for granted.
â€œEven before the conclusion of this second match against Cameroon in Yaounde, we had started the arrangements for the match against Zambia. The Chairman of Organizing Committee (NFF 1st VP, Seyi Akinwunmi) will travel to Uyo this week to see Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and they will go through the check-list together.
Pinnick said nothing will be taken for granted in preparing to host the Zambians in Uyo.
â€œNothing will be left to chance. It is a very big match, and the way things have turned out against Cameroon, it is now an even bigger match than the ones we played against Cameroon. There must be no room for error,â€ revealed the NFF chief.
Pinnick spoke glowingly of the youthfulness of the new Eagles.
â€œThis team has not only shown capacity to go very far, but the youthfulness gives you the assurance that it can even go farther. You look at the players and you are happy that there is a future for Nigerian Football.
â€œYou take a first look at the team and you see players like William Ekong, Wilfred Ndidi, Leon Balogun, Alex Iwobi, Chidozie Awaziem, Tyronne Ebuehi, Kelechi Iheanacho and now we have Ola Aina as well.
â€œWe are working on getting Tammy Abraham. There are others like Henry Onyekuru and Olanrewaju Kayode. I believe we are so blessed and that this team will cause a big stir in Russia, and if not in Russia, in Qatar in five years time,â€ pledged Pinnick who also doubles as member of the important Organising Committee of FIFA.