The Nigeria Football Federation believes the much-adored Nigerian Spirit will come back.
President of the NFF and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick said on Thursday night that the Eagles have the character to bounce back from the shock home defeat by the central Africans and still fly very high above other contenders in Group C of the African race by taking the maximum points in Douala on Sunday.
Theresult has been a huge shock, especially after the NFF provided everything necessary to make the team comfortable and focused on the task at hand, even going the extra mile in a number of areas. The Federation wishes to appreciate the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government and our partners and sponsors for their support to enable us provide the necessary comfort and conducive environment for the team to succeed.
“This is a setback, which can be quickly reversed, and the Nigerian Spirit is what we will take to Cameroon. The NFF is backing the team to retain a strong hold on the group and qualify to the knockout phase.
“At the halfway mark of this phase, our Super Eagles still top the group. I am in touch with even the players that are injured like Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Alex Iwobi. They are all very sad with the result. The players who featured in today’s match are all very sober and sad. They know what is important now is their reaction to the situation when they take to the pitch in Douala on Sunday. We believe they will deliver against the same team.”
Pinnick said the NFF was taking responsibility for the defeat and urged Nigerians from far and near to get behind the team at this period.
“Everyone is stunned, but we do not have to be emotional or negative about things. The same team defeated Liberia here in Lagos and Cape Verde away. They still have that ability to deliver. As a Football Federation, we take responsibility for this defeat. We believe things will change positively in three days. We also believe that this loss is a massive wake-up call and could be the springboard to reset and motivate the team to keep giving their all to not only qualify for the World Cup but to perform well in Qatar.”
Nigeria remain top of Group C with six points, two more than both Cape Verde (who defeated Liberia’s Lone Star in Monrovia) and Central African Republic, with Liberia bumped to bottom place.