Nigeria Will Have an Outstanding World Cup in Russia, Says Wike

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* Pinnick, Onigbinde, believe Super Eagles capable of surpassing previous efforts

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that Nigeria has every reason to be optimistic that the Super Eagles would be outstanding at the World Cup 2018 in Russia.

Speaking during the Sun Newspaper World Cup Seminar in Port Harcourt yesterday, Wike said the Super Eagles has a good team with world-class talents and stars.

He said: “We have every reason to be optimistic about the performance of the Super Eagles because they are a good team with world-class stars and talents. They performed excellently well during the qualifying rounds and they are also very well in the international friendly matches.

He however warned that it takes more than wishful thinking to excel at the Mundial.

“But, there is also the need for us to be concerned because excelling at the World Cup competition is not about wishful thinking. We must ensure that our team is well resourced, well prepared and well-motivated to fight for victory at the competition “.

The governor said the team needs all the support, love and the prayers of Nigerians to remain strongly inspired and fired up to give their best for the country.

Wike commended the Sun’s newspaper for putting together the seminar as it will help prepare the Eagle and their administrators for the task ahead in Russia.

Meanwhile, President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Melvin Pinnick and former FIFA Technical Study Group member, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde were unanimous in their beliefs that Super Eagles will write a new chapter of the country’s participation at the Mundial in Russia next month.

The duo slammed pessimists for saying that it was unthinkable for Nigeria to win the coverted trophy in Russia..

The NFF boss spoke with strong conviction that the task was achievable and that millions of Nigerians should stand with the team based on the motivation and determination with which they have been preparing in the last two years.

“We have no choice than to stand with these young lads who are ready to achieve greatness in their chosen profession. When you look back into the dynamic of the game in the last four years, a lot on things that cannot be imagined had happened.

“Countries like Holland who lost out in the semi final failed in the bid to reach Russia. Chile, the champions of South America back-to-back did not qualify just as former world champions, Italy, failed to make it to this tournament for the first time in a long while,

Chief Onigbinde who was the guest speaker at the seminar also toed the line of the NFF boss stressing that the team has been together for a long time and has the capacity to improve the bench mark ascribed to Nigeria in the tournament.

“To win a major tournament like the World Cup, it requires a four-year programme and it was unfortunate that that the team took to the tournament in Korea/Japan 2002 was assembled in barely three months after the crisis that erupted at the AFCON in Mali.

“Although the team crashed out in the group stage we were not disgraced. If you look at the present crop of players in the Super Eagles and the time they have stayed together, it is possible for the team to go beyond the second round that has remained Nigeria’s best outing today,” he said.

He called on all stakeholders to rally round the team since the success is for all teeming fans of the game in the country and worldwide.

Chief Onigbinde identified psychological, intellectual and medical fitness as the major keys if Super Eagles will go far at the tournament.

Managing Director of Sun Newspaper Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, said that the event was organised to ensure that the Nigerian national team emerges victorious.

The seminar attracted top Nigerian coaches, sportswriters, ex-internationals and football administrators.