Nigeria semi-final match against Mali - Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday had a telephone conversation with members of the country's national team, the Super Eagles, ahead of their semi-final match against Mali at the ongoing 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
The call was aimed at boosting the morale of the players ahead of the clash in Durban.
President Jonathan, who had earlier promised to honour the team with his presence should the it qualify for the final, spoke to each of the players.
The players are therefore geared to beat Mali and advance to the final, so President Jonathan can fly to South Africa to watch them play.
The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Aminu Maigari, said he had already emphasised the need to beat Mali.
“I have spoken to the head coach (Stephen Keshi) and the captain (Joseph Yobo), and they have assured me that they will fulfil Mr. President’s desire. It is rare to have this kind of support from a Head of State.
“On our part, the NFF has motivated the team enough to do Mr. President and the nation proud by not only winning on Wednesday, but lifting the trophy on Sunday,” Maigari said.
Earlier on Monday, the team arrived in Durban, venue of Wednesday’s semi final against Mali, to a glorious welcome by the people of Durban (Nigerians and other nationals).
The Super Eagles were delayed at the Oliver Tambo Airport in Johannesburg on their way to Durban, from Rustenburg, due to a flight mix-up.
The team had left Rustenburg on a two-hour bus ride to Johannesburg as Rustenburg, a small mining town, has no airport.
Though the Super Eagles arrived early Monday for a scheduled 1pm (local time), 55-minute flight to Durban, they remained at the airport until 4pm.
The late arrival in Durban, as well as rainfall, meant that the Super Eagles did not train on Monday.