President Muhammadu Buhari says the away victory of the Super Eagles over Zambia at the weekend is not only tonic for Nigeria at a time like this, but also a confidence booster that the indomitable Nigerian spirit is well and alive.
In a statement by his special adviser media, Femi Adesina, the Nigerian National Team had begun its qualifying campaign for Russia 2018 World Cup by beating Zambia 2-1 in Ndola, a development President Buhari describes as “cheery and soul-lifting.”
He said it was a sign of good things to come, urging the team not to rest on its oars till it eventually qualified for the global soccer fiesta.
“This is but the first step in a long journey. However, that step has been well taken. An away victory at this level, in which the stakes are quite high, is remarkable.
The ultimate is to qualify for Russia 2018, and fly Nigeria’s flag alongside those of other giant soccer playing nations. I look forward to that, and I urge the team and their handlers to always keep their eyes on the ball,” President Buhari said.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles captain Mikel John Obi has said that a united and focused Eagles, and a supportive Nigeria Football Federation will guarantee Nigeria a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.
The Chelsea midfield ace told thenff.com that team solidarity and the maturity of the technical crew have forged a new spirit in camp,
saying the victory over Zambia at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on Sunday that has propelled the Super Eagles to the top of the so –called ‘Group of Death’ is the beginning of great things to come.
“I have belief that we can reach new heights with this team. The boys are so committed that it makes you happy. The coaching crew is made up of very matured and brilliant people who respect the players. We are onto a good thing.”
Nigeria won a competitive away game for the first time in 23 months as Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho scored before Collins Mbesuma pulled one back in the Zambian Copperbelt capital.
Manchester City of England prodigy Iheanacho has now scored in each of his last four matches for Nigeria: against Mali in France; Luxembourg in Luxembourg City; Tanzania in Uyo and; Zambia in Ndola.