Eagles camp update: Day 1

After their return from Malawi on Sunday, Nigeria’s Super Eagles returned to training on Monday ahead of Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Rwanda.

The first leg ended goaless in Rwanda and Nigeria just need a win of any kind to qualify for the next stage of the qualifiers.

But one thing that had occupied the minds of Nigerians at least since Saturday has been the manner Nigeria drew against Malawi.

In a game that the Eagles would have been happy to take a draw, Gabriel Rueben put the Eagles ahead in the 92nd minute and it took a Vincent Enyeama clanger in what could have well been the last kick of the game for the match to end in a draw.

However, Vincent has charged his team mates to put that draw behind them and focus on defeating Rwanda on Saturday.

The Lille of France goalie, who has kept mute over the goal conceded in Blantyre, took his teammates by surprise on Monday afternoon during lunch when he asked to speak on events in camp in nearly three weeks of camping the national team.

He started by thanking all members of the team for the amazing fighting spirit they have shown so far in the build up to qualifiers for the Brazil 2014 World Cup and the SA 2013 Nations Cup and added that being the first time he was meeting with new sets of players in the national team, he was quite amazed that such talents still abound in the team, especially from the Nigerian league.

He then asked the players to be ready to be dropped and be recalled at anytime since it’s a rebuilding process time and such occurrences should not be taken against the leadership of the national team and the NFF.

“I won’t be surprised if during this period I’m dropped from this team, nobody is too big to be asked to go if he’s not measuring up but I must commend those of us that are here for being very committed not only to qualifying for the World Cup but also the Nations Cup.”

Enyeama, then warned his colleagues that unlike other football loving Nigerians, they have no time to start brooding over events in Malawi as that must be confined to history if the team must make it to the next Nations Cup.

“We were supposed to win in Malawi and it didn’t happen, that is now in the past. We must forget that and be ready to beat Rwanda silly to qualify for the next Nations Cup. Don’t forget gentlemen that we failed to qualify for the last Nations Cup and God forbid that thunder should strike twice in our time. That is why I’m begging us to leave issues of last week behind and get ready to pound Rwanda for the Nations Cup,” he said amid applause from his teammates.

Maigari to Keshi: Show No Mercy To Rwanda
President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Aminu Maigari also charged the technical crew of the Super Eagles led by Stephen Keshi to fashion out a plan that will see the team crush the Amavubi of Rwanda on Saturday without any palpitations.

At a breakfast meeting with the Eagles’ coaching crew at the NFF Secretariat, Abuja, Maigari insisted that though Nigerians have shown commendable understanding for the on-going re-building process, victory in Saturday’s 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifying match at the U. J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar is non-negotiable.

“We are happy to remain at the head of the qualifying group for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification race, despite drawing in Malawi. But there will be no room for a draw on Saturday. It is a match we must win.

“I also want you to devise a strategy that will ensure a convincing win. We are re-building but there are matches that we cannot afford to let slip. This is one match that we must win.

“The NFF will continue to give you total support in all engagements, activities and programmes of the Super Eagles. Please go ahead and guarantee victory for Nigerians to be happy on Saturday,” said Maigari.

Responding, Stephen Keshi said the crew and the players realize very much what Saturday’s clash means.

“We know it is an important step for us to get back into the African Cup of Nations, which we missed this year. Everyone knows how critical this match is. However, we will play without pressure in order for us to deliver.”

Rwanda arrive on Wednesday

The Federation Rwandaise Football Association have notified the NFF that its delegation for Saturday’s battle will be composed of 40 persons and will arrive in Lagos on Wednesday aboard Rwanda Air.

NFF General Secretary, Musa Amadu has confirmed that the Rwandan delegation will be accommodated in Lagos on Wednesday night before being flown to the Canaan City on Thursday morning.

The Confederation of African Football has appointed Ivorian Noumandiez Doue to be Centre Referee for the crucial match. He will be assisted by compatriots Songuifolo Yeo (Assistant Referee 1), Moussa Bayere (Assistant Referee 2) and Bienvenu Sinko (Reserve Referee). The Match Commissioner if Abdoulaye Lawandji Mahamat from Chad.
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