President Muhammadu Buhari believes Nigeria boast the energy and vibrancy to make the country proud at the World Cup in Russia.
The president on Wednesday charged the Super Eagles to play fair and clean football and make Nigeria proud at the 2018 World Cup billed to start on the 14th of June, 2018.
While noting that as the youngest team going to the World Cup, the Super Eagles might be seen as inexperienced by their opponents, Buhari urged them to take advantage of the age and leave lasting impression, bearing in mind they have the support of over 180 million Nigerians.
“You are going to represent us in Russia, you must bear in mind that you are not just going for a tournament, with each game you must remember that you are carrying the passions, emotions and feelings of over 180 million people. Play fair and clean but demonstrate the gallant spirit which Nigerians are known for.
“Nothing unites Nigerians more than football and nothing will gladden the people of Nigeria more than for you to acquit yourself honourably by winning in Russia.
“You are the youngest team in the tournament which means you are likely the most inexperienced team, a fact that will not be lost on your opponents. But it is also something that you can use to your advantage.
“You have the full support and the blessings of all Nigerians who will look up to you for as long as the tournament last.
“I commend the Nigerian Football Federation for drawing up the right programme that is helping to refine the team to the powerful force which it’s meant to be.
“This is our time, we look up to you to make us proud. All Nigerians join me in saying to you, best of luck. Thank you and God be with you all.”
The Youth and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, who noted that the team has qualified for the World Cup six times and have advanced to the round of 16, said this current team will exceed the record of previous outings.
He said, “As the present set of Super Eagles make sure that Nigeria’s flag is hoisted once more at the tournament, they will do so conscious of the glorious outing of their predecessors while determined to make history themselves.
“This Super Eagles have already started on a very positive note by qualifying in style for Russia 2018. You will recall that when the super eagles were drawn in the so-called group of dead for the African qualifiers, not many gave them chance of qualification from the group that had African football giant like Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia. However, the Super Eagles shocked all doubting Thomas by not only qualifying for 2018 but doing so remarkably with a match to spare. Furthermore, they became the first team in Africa to qualify for the tournament.
“All these were made possible because of your support and frequent intervention Your Excellency, to ensure welfare of the team through the timely release of funds for the prosecution of the qualifier. This did not come as a surprise because since 1985 when the Nigerian Golden Eaglets won the FIFA World Cup under your administration then, your support for all the national team has not been in doubt.