This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Maigari - Eagles Will Bring Jonathan to Jo'burg

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari said on Tuesday that the Super Eagles are ready to fulfil President Goodluck Jonathan's desire to travel to South Africa for Sunday's 29th Africa Cup of Nations grand finale.

Nigeria's sports-loving Head of State said last year that he would want to be at the closing ceremony and Final match of the Africa Cup of Nations at National Stadium, Soweto provided the Super Eagles made it there.

Following progression from the group stage and Sunday's gutsy performance that eliminated title favourites Cote d'Ivoire, the Super Eagles are only one leg away from fulfilling the President's desire.

"I have just spoken to the Head Coach (Stephen Keshi) and the Captain (Joseph Yobo), and they have assured me that they will fulfil Mr. President's desire. It is rare to have this kind of support from a Head of State.

"On our part, the NFF has motivated the team enough to do Mr. President and the nation proud by not only winning on Wednesday, but lifting the trophy on Sunday."

President Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR) was on line to speak to Head Coach, Keshi and each of the players on Tuesday evening ahead of the game, to reiterate his resolve to be at the Sunday's closing ceremony.

The team arrived in Durban, venue of Wednesday's semi final against Mali, to a glorious welcome by the people of Durban (Nigerian residents and other nationals) who desire to be compensated for the disappointment of Super Eagles' group stage elimination from the FIFA World Cup finals 32 months ago.

Needing only a minimum win to reach the knock-out phase of Africa's first FIFA World Cup, and backed by a vociferous full house at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the Eagles could only force a 2-2 draw with Korea Republic and went out with a limp.

Tickets are selling very fast for the showdown of Super Eagles and the Mali Eagles, as the countdown begins for only the fourth Cup of Nations finals match between Nigeria and Mali.

Three previous encounters (two of them won by Nigeria and the other drawn) have produced only four goals but the supercharged Eagles look to go on rampage at the Moses Mabhida on Wednesday evening.

Yakubu Ayegbeni scored the only goal in Mopti to hand Nigeria the bronze medals at the expense of the host nation at the 2002 finals and Jay-Jay Okocha's thunderous free-kick from 35 yards made it 2-1 in another bronze medal match in Monastir at the 2004 finals in Tunisia.

It was a scoreless draw when both teams met in the group phase in Sekondi at the 2008 finals in Ghana.

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