A Vote of Confidence on Dare, Amaju, Eagles Coaches As Players Pledge Qualification

By Daily Sports Nigeria on February 21, 2022

Views: 345

Truly, much are being done towards the impending Qatar 2022 World Cup final play –off game between Nigeria and her arch rivals, Ghana which first leg would come up on March 23, in  Accra.
Of critical note is the recently found synergy that exists between the Nigeria Football Federation and the Sports Ministry which has led to smooth midwife of appointing Emmanuel Amuneke as the chief coach of the Super Eagles pairing with teammate, Austin Eguaveon for anticipated superlative outing of the team in the crucial World Cup play-off against their Black Stars of Ghana counterparties’ on the quest to pick one of the tickets to represent Africa from the epic encounter.
Nigerians applauded the great and timely move that quickly dusted the tension of who would have been in charge. Since then many other spirited moves have been made to solidify this and also to bring the confidence level of the players to the present realities of the moment.
However what prompted this write up this week was to lend one’s voice to the patriotic moves by the stakeholders led by Sports Minister, Sunday Dare and NFF President, Amaju Pinnick who have redoubled their efforts and even extended their official schedules towards ensuring that no stone is being left unturned for the much talked about and expected football confrontation between the two West African neighbours’ that promises to not only rekindled the way back supremacy in the game but also would set the tone of a top flight football artistry of the recent time.   
These two bigwigs have comprehensively donated their time towards directly supervising this all important national project and working harder to reach out to the players that would come in to make the difference right from the first leg in Accra, Ghana and five days later reversed leg in Abuja, Nigeria.
This columnist must posit that it remains gladden that Eguaveon has firmly acknowledged the inclusion of his former teammate, Emmanuel Amuneke to beef up the technical crew of the Super Eagles and pledged his comprehensive, wholeheartedly to work with him for the good of the game in the country. Such remains the spirit and maturity from the technical adviser. They will work assiduously together to deliver the Qatar World Cup ticket though it is not going to be an easy task ahead as Ghana is equally planning for the downfall of Nigeria.
Last week Pinnick, Eguaveon and Amuneke were in London where they met with new players that have been cleared to switch their allegiances to Nigeria and others where they discussed extensively on the importance of this coming play-off.
It was full house and to put icing on the cake, the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare spoke to them via zoom. That aspect also marked significant water shed on this mission that must be accomplished grandly.
As that was being celebrated by pundits, fans, analysts and bookmakers, the  Super Eagles players and coaches assured Nigerians of their determination to earn a spot at the 22nd FIFA World Cup finals to be held in Qatar between November 14 and December 18, 2022.
In that virtual meeting with the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, and bigwigs of the Nigeria Football Federation last week Tuesday night, Coaches Augustine Eguavoen and Emmanuel Amuneke, as well as the playing body, said they were aware of the enormous defy that Black Stars of Ghana would present in next month’s two-legged play-off. They, however, pledged that they were resolute to emerge victoriously.
“The FIFA World Cup is the biggest football tournament in the world, and every player wants to feature there,” said Captain Ahmed Musa. “A good number of the players in the team now have not been there, and the few of us that have been there, want to experience it again.
The players asked the NFF to help them get enough fans into the Abuja Stadium for the second leg, as they will go to Ghana and dig deep their our feet and ensure a great result. No doubt they admitted that surely Ghana would also want to qualify and they have a strong team to try the Eagles for size. However, the return leg the players’ chorused will not only be critical but also crucial and they are ever ready for the tough and highly tactical ground battle, but we want our fans to be in there soothing.
For the team’s technical adviser, Augustine Eguavoen, it is always an honour to serve the country and he is impressed with the high level of discipline and commitment of the players at the recently concluded AFCON in Cameroon where lessons have been learnt.
According to Eguaveon he felt privileged to lead the group. We have two tough games against Ghana next month but he is not too worried because Nigeria has a squad that knows it is a mountain that we have to climb successfully. The team he said has a good headache to deal with which he explained further Nigeria has a surplus of good players. He expressed his gratitude to the government and the NFF for all these support during the AFCON; and the literary Oliver Twist he and his team need even greater support for the World Cup play-off.
At this juncture, the team’s Chief Coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, said he was privileged to work with the side.
He vividly pointed out that he had worked with some of the players in the U-17 and U-20 cadres, and some others I has known for many years. We have the team to earn the World Cup ticket and we will put our best foot forward for each game,” he reassures.
To the Deputy Captain, William Ekong, the players are aware of the big task ahead and only want the government to ensure that the pitch of the MKO Abiola National Stadium in Abuja is in ‘perfect condition’ for the return leg encounter against the Black Stars.
He said the team loved the pitch of the stadium in Garoua, Cameroun and it helped them play some good football. Super Eagles would be charmed if the Abuja Stadium will be in parallel condition for the second leg.
It would be recalled that Sunday Dare emphatically reminded the boys that the upcoming World Cup ticket is non-negotiable and steadily extolled the players for their efforts at the AFCON, saying lessons have been learnt from that defeat from Tunisia in the Round of 16.
He said that he knew the players are still unhappy about the loss to Tunisia, he told them to visit their anger of the defeat by Tunisia on Ghana. We are all aware about the history of the rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana in football and so this is one fixture that Nigeria must not lose.
“I don’t doubt that dogged spirit is there in you, and the country would also want you to see yourselves as one big family. Nigerians have confidence in you that you can do it and will give you all the support.
Dare did not fail tell whoever that cares to listen that coaches Eguavoen and Amuneke have smooth access to the NFF President and he will always be ready to provide what you need. As for the pitch of the MKO Abiola National Stadium, we have experts working there all the time and assured it will be in perfect condition for the now or never match.
NFF President and FIFA Council Member, Amaju Pinnick, in his remarks, charged the players to face the two-leg fixture with even greater determination and play with grit, guts, and zest.
He reminded them that these are two very vital matches in which the players have to give more than their most excellent outing.  In short giving Nigeria that World Cup ticket is non-negotiable.
The columnist learnt that among the players present were Victor Osimhen, Abdullahi Shehu, Sadiq Umar, Jamilu Collins, Frank Onyeka, Oluwasemilogo Ajayi, Kelechi Nwakali, Wilfred Ndidi,  Zaidu Sanusi, Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, Oghenekaro Etebo, Daniel Akpeyi, Peter Olayinka, Taiwo Awoniyi, Moses Simon, Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Samuel Chukwueze, Samuel Kalu, and Henry Onyekuru.
It would be recalled that Nigeria has featured in six of the last seven FIFA World Cup finals, and has a date against the Black Stars in Cape Coast on March 23, and second leg at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, three days later.
We will keep the dial to our loyal readers as the build up thickens. Keep shooting hard till next week as the struggle continues!!

Source Daily Sports Nigeria

Posted February 21, 2022


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