President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari on Wednesday assured Nigerians that the Super Eagles will qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.
“I have no doubt that we will qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals. We expected to win here but things didn’t turn out that way. However, nothing has changed. All we need do is beat Malawi in September and we’ll be through to the final round of the elimination series.
“Not only will we get there, we will also conquer whichever team comes our way and get the ticket to the World Cup finals.”
Maigari spoke at the Nigeria House in Windhoek, hours after the Super Eagles forced the Brave Warriors to a 1-1 draw in a hard-fought 2014 World Cup qualifying clash at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.
Following Malawi’s 2-2 draw with Kenya in Blantyre earlier in the day, the Group F became Nigeria’s to conquer with a win against the Namibians. But after a bright opening spell, during which Sunday Mba and Anthony Ujah missed opportunities, the hosts began to grow in confidence and looked dangerous going forward.
The Brave Warriors combined pace and endeavour with commendable ball sense, but they found the central defensive network of Kenneth Omeruo and Godfrey Oboabona impregnable.
At the other end, Germany-based forward Ujah shot wastefully over the bar with the net gaping.
On the hour mark, the hosts could have taken the lead with a fierce shot, but Enyeama was equal to the task. Their attacking menace continued to cause apprehension among the few Nigerians at the stadium.
In the 74th minute, Ahmed Musa, hero of the qualifier against Kenya in Nairobi a week earlier, fluffed a great chance when clean on goal. And two minutes later, Namibia shot into the lead.
Substitute Deon Hotto Kavendji was unmarked in the area to steer a pull-out from the left past Vincent Enyeama.
As it has happened in all their four previous qualifying matches, Nigeria would not get a goal until after 80 minutes. Defender Godfrey Oboabona lashed a free-kick from the edge of the box, which goalkeeper Virgill Vries could only help into his net in the 83rd minute.
The African champions will fly out of Windhoek to Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon, and be on their way to Sao Paulo minutes before 6pm South Africa time. They will arrive Sao Paulo minutes before midnight, and connect immediately to Belo Horizonte, venue of their first match of the FIFA Confederations Cup tournament against Tahiti, which comes up on Monday.
Amodu: These boys have great potential
National Technical Director, Coach Amodu Shaibu has called on Nigerians not to put too much pressure on the present Super Eagles, saying most of the players are just coming into the team and need time to fully grow.
“Let us be careful not to put too much pressure on the players. Apart from goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and John Mikel Obi, the rest are young players who need time to mature into the big time.
“Yes, we all expected them to win tonight against the Namibians. But I tell you, the Namibians are a very good side and we can only take some positives away from this match.”
Amodu spoke at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, venue of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between the African champions and the Brave Warriors, which ended 1-1.
Defender Godfrey Oboabona equalized for Nigeria through a fierce free-kick, after substitute Deon Hotto Kavendji had shot the homers in front six minutes earlier.
“I am happy with what I see because these boys have great potential. Let us give them some time. If these boys stay together, playing together for the next two years, they will be ready to tackle any team in the world,” Amodu added.
Nigeria sit atop Group F with nine points, two more than Malawi’s Flames, whom they confront in Nigeria in the first week of September. The Eagles need only a draw from that match to reach the 10-nation, final elimination round of the African series for 2014 FIFA World Cup.
– Sola Rogers (Twitter – @solarogers), News Bytes Sports Desk
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