President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday gave a pep talk to the Super Eagles, ahead of their second-round match against Tunisia tonight in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, confirmed this development in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Speaking via video conference from the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the president spoke with Coach Augustine Eguavoen, Captain Ahmed Musa, Amaju Pinnick, President of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), and Nigerian Ambassador to Cameroon, rtd Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin.
While mentioning two of the player, Kelechi Iheanacho and Moses Simon, by name, Buhar urged the Super Eagles to continue making Nigerians happy, not only by winning the second-round match but to eventually lift the trophy.
He said: ”You’ve been doing Nigeria proud. You’ve been winning. Please keep on winning. The Federal Government is supporting you, and I say thank you to all the technical crew and the players.
”Please keep doing the country proud.”
The president applauded the good work being done by the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, saying ”the country appreciates it.”
Responding, Eguavoen said: “We are so excited that His Excellency, President Buhari, has come to speak with us this morning. On behalf of the players and the technical crew, I want to say thank you very much sir.
”The group stage has passed, and your speaking to us is a morale booster.
”Thank you for your support, Mr President, we also thank the Hon. Minister, and the NFF President.
”We are so privileged, and want to promise that you should just relax, we’ll come out victorious. We won’t let the nation down.”
On his part, the Nigerian ambassador said the over four million Nigerians living in Cameroon had been giving robust support to the Super Eagles since they arrived Garoua, Cameroon, on Jan. 5, and they will continue to do so.”
Ahmed Musa, on behalf of the players, appreciated the president.
“We will make Nigeria proud, now that we have the blessings of the father of the nation,” he said.
NFF President, Pinnick described the video conference as “a priceless privilege,” and thanked President Buhari and the nation at large for their prayers and support.
He said under the current dispensation, Nigeria had won the Under 17 football tournament twice, “and we want to win the Africa Cup of Nations too.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria progressed from Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations with a perfect record after beating Guinea-Bissau 2-0.
After wins over Egypt and Sudan, the Super Eagles had already guaranteed their place in the knockout stages as group winners.
NAN reports that Nigeria, three-time former winners of the AFCON, will face Tunisia.