Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
As the Flying Eagles’ delegation to the 21st Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations depart for Niamey, Niger Republic today, Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has challenged the players to give their very best and qualify for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
The Franco-German gaffer has also pledged that he would be at the competition venue to pick the best Nigerian player and include him in the senior squad.
“I watched the team’s training session and I see they are good. They are ambitious and I will be in Niger Republic to see some of the matches.
“I have decided to pick one or two of them, the best ones, to give them a chance when we regroup for the matches against Seychelles and Egypt in March,” Rohr, who watched the Flying Eagles train on Tuesday, told reporters in Abuja.
The Super Eagles, already qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, host the Pirates of Seychelles at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on 23rd March, in a mere academic session, and then welcome the Pharaohs of Egypt in a much-anticipated friendly at the same venue three days later.
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, has charged the Flying Eagles to take to heart the virtues of discipline, dedication and commitment as they head to Niger Republic.
Speaking during a visit to the team’s training session in Abuja yesterday, Sanusi harped on the importance of imbibing enviable character traits that will take the players to the top faster than even their abilities on the field of play.
“Discipline and character are values that you must not take for granted. You may be the best player in the world, but without discipline and character, you would sooner find yourself on the scrap heap. Stories of exceptional talents who wasted away before they could climb successfully to the top, as a result of indiscipline, abound. I pray that your story will not be like any of those.
“You are bearing the high expectations of 180 million Nigerians on your lean shoulders, but you cannot afford to fail. You are Ambassadors of our great country and good character and discipline are key in everything you do in Niger Republic and thereafter.”
Sanusi assured the players that the federation would do everything necessary to support the team to achieve its targets of World Cup ticket and AFCON title at the continental house-party.
“The NFF would do everything it can to support you from every front, and I can assure you that your qualification bonus would be ready for you once you earn the FIFA World Cup ticket.
“Football is the biggest unifying factor globally. Please have that in your mind as you go that the whole country is behind you and will be backing you to conquer.”
Seven-time champions Nigeria will confront host nation Niger Republic, South Africa and Burundi in Group A of the eight-nation tournament, taking place between February 2nd and 17th February.
The Flying Eagles will take on Burundi in their first match of the championship in Niamey on Saturday night.