Nigeria at 2013 AFCON - Here are tit bits from the Nigerian camp at the current 2013 African Nations Cup finals in South Africa, compiled by PANA here Wednesday.
The President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, has expressed appreciation to the government and people of Nigeria for the tremendous support so far given to the Super Eagles at the tournament.
The two-time African champions reached the quarter finals on the back of a 2-0 defeat of Ethiopia here Tuesday night, with two earlier 1-1 draws against Burkina Faso and Zambia looking to put them in danger of elimination.
Victor Moses, 22, who was born in north central Kaduna State but has lived in England since the age of 11 (incidentally, the number he wears for Nigeria) won and converted two late spot-kicks that steered the Eagles into the last eight.
Ironically, Moses travelled to Nigeria in March 2011 for a 2012 Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia and trained with the Nigerian squad, only to discover that he could not play because his eligibility papers had not arrived from FIFA.
Disappointed, the dreadlocked attacking midfielder returned to England, and seeing his passion, the NFF worked hard at his papers which finally arrived in October 2011 – the same month Super Eagles failed to qualify for the 2012 finals.
Moses showed his fervour in subsequent games for Nigeria, and was voted the Most Valuable Player when he scored a brace in the Eagles’ 6-1 spanking of Liberia in Calabar in November that ensured Nigeria’s passage to South Africa 2013.
The Chairman of the Media and Publicity Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, Chief Emeka Inyama, said in Johannesburg on Wednesday that he sees the Super Eagles flying over the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in Sunday’s mouth-watering Cup of Nations quarter final clash in Rustenburg.
Inyama, also Chairman of the Nigeria National League and Member of the NFF Executive Committee, has seen it all at the highest levels of the game and says everything points to the Elephants receiving a sucker punch.
“The Super Eagles are in upbeat mood following Tuesday’s win over Ethiopia, and when a team is that way, it is very difficult to stop. Of course, on paper the Elephants have greater pedigree and rating than our players. But Sunday is the crunch and the Nigeria team knows how to rise to the occasion,' he said.
The Chairman of the NFF Technical Committee, Barrister Chris Green, has enjoined Nigerians to have faith in the Super Eagles as the two-time African champions are set for face tournament favourites Cote d'Ivoire in the quarter finals at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Green joined NFF President Aminu Maigari and a number of senators and members of the House of Representatives on a visit to the Nigeria team camp in Rustenburg on Wednesday afternoon.
“The NFF technical committee and the Super Eagles’ technical crew are working in harmony at this tournament, and as we speak, I can assure you that we have a formula to deal with the match against the Ivorians.
“We urge Nigerians to continue to support the team. At the level of the NFF, we have provided all that the team needs and we are still doing more to motivate them.”
PANA recalls that Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who is also the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, boosted the pockets of players and officials with the sum of US$ 100,000 when he visited their Ingwenyama Conference and Sport Resort in Nelspruit on Friday last week.
Governor Amaechi also said that Nigerian billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, will reward the players for a quarter final ticket.