Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare, has said only a win in Freetown will be acceptable to Nigerians when the Super Eagles take on their Sierra Leonean counterparts in the reverse group L fixture of the 2022 African Nations Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
The Super Eagles surrendered a four-goal lead in the first leg in Benin last Friday, an unprecedented international collapse by the senior national team and like most Nigerians, Sports Minister Dare expressed shock and disappointment at the team’s unprecedented meltdown and has demanded a response in Freetown on Tuesday.
‘Nigerians have expressed a collective disappointment with the collapse of the team especially in the second half,giving up a 4-0 lead to a team that is ranked 88 times below our biggest football brand,the Super Eagles. I have expressed my disappointment with the result to the team and the Nigeria Football Federation. Like most Nigerians, only a convincing win in Freetown can assuage our feelings and bruised egos. Only a win will be acceptable in Freetown,’said Dare who deferred comments on the suitability or otherwise of Mr Gernot Rohr as manager of the team.
‘The task at the moment is to get the team firmly back on track towards picking one of the group’s two tickets on offer for the 2022 AFCON. A win in Freetown will seal a 19th participation in the African Mundial. After this, we can now debate Mr. Rohr’s suitability as we seek to return Nigeria to the pedestal of African football and one of the beautiful game’s powerhouses in world football. We will reappraise Mr. Rohr’s performance since he was named as Super Eagles manager and see if he is the right man to fulfill our expectations,’ said Dare.
The Sports Minister says he is not unaware of the role the domestic league can play in actualising a Super Eagles of our dreams.
‘The success of our endeavours in football can only be measured by the success of the domestic league. A thriving, professionally run domestic league in all cadres will impact positively on our national teams.
That’s why I demanded full implementation of FIFA and CAF club licensing regulations. This will bring us closer to making our leagues viable for investors and restore the confidence of all stakeholders.’