Two congress members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have applauded the host country of the 2021 AFCON, Cameroun in terms of facilities and infrastructures in place for the competition while also expressing confidence in the ability of Nigeria’s representative the Super Eagles in going far in the competition.
In an exclusive chat with scorerfootballmagazine.com, the two administrators, chairmen of the football association in their respective states, declared that they are at home in Cameroun after spending a week in the Central African country.
“There isn’t much difference between Nigeria and Cameroun, environment wise particularly when comparing Northern Nigeria and Garoua that we are”, Muhammed Saidu, the Sokoto state FA Chairman declared while same sentiments was expressed by the Taraba FA Chairman, Timothy Magaji.
“The reception has been very nice and lovely. The people here are very accommodating and we are really having fun with them. We are not missing home in any way as this place looks just like home”, he declared.
When asked about the standard of play on display so far in the competition, Muhammed Saidu who is also the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria National League opined that the quality has witnessed a decline but there is an explanation or excuse for that.
“The pandemic affected everything and that is because the world is now a global village and the economics is badly affected. Even in the premier League, the La Liga, the Bundesliga, the standard is no longer at the same level. We have seen almost all the matches here and so just as we expect that there will be some challenges, we have witnessed it all so we can conclude that the standard cannot be compared to that of the last 4-5 editions. The standard is high in terms of the quality of players but in terms of play, no. It could be as a result of the COVID-19 which has restricted or prevented some players from coming for the tournament”, he explained.
On the Super Eagies performances in the tournament, Timothy Magaji attributed the positive results so far recorded to the unity of purpose in the team.
“The Super Eagles have made us proud. We are witnessing a new Eagles under the leadership of Austin Eguavoen and you can see that with the support of the assistants and some other Ex-internationals, we are doing well. This can only happen when there is unity and support and that is why we are making a success of it all right now”, Timothy highlighted.
Conclusively, the Sokoto FA Chairman described the present team as a re-branded team and even went ahead to make predictions on how far the team can go.
“I made a statement the very first time we played Egypt that the last time I saw this kind of cohesion was probably 12 years ago. The team is coming up and there are areas to be worked on”.
The most significant is in the area of concentration which can cause a lot of damage and that is what the team should guide against. Momentary loss of concentration almost caused us two goals against Sudan and that needs to be attended to. We need to go back to what worked for us pre-the first two matches”.
“At worst, we will get to the semifinals. But there is a caveat, if you see the number of players who have played the two matches, they are not more than 15 players. We have comfortably qualified so we have to give opportunities to the ones on the bench. It is called reverse engineering”.
We need a pool of players to choose from incase there is injury or injuries in the team so when you allow others play, you will build a form of confidence in them.
Eguavoen can use that as a sort of reverse psychology”.
Nigeria is to play Guinea Bissau on Wednesday in the final group game although Nigeria is already assured of qualification and top spot in the group.