Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan Saturday urged the Super Eagles of Nigeria to shore up the nation's image at the ongoing World Cup in Brazil by winning the cup.
The president in a goodwill message delivered by the leader of federal government delegation to Brazil, Senator David Mark, at Campinas, Sao Paulo, described the Super Eagles as "our nation's greatest unifying factor in the face of our current national challenges."
A statement by Mark's Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said the president implored the team not to disappoint Nigerians but to make the best use of the opportunity. "You cannot afford to disappoint the nation because with your performance at this World Cup tournament, we can recreate a new image for our great country," the president was quoted as saying. According to the statement, the president recalled the Super Eagles' sterling performances at various tournaments in the past and encouraged the team to repeat the feat in this tournament by concentrating "on the main objective of bringing the cup home to make Nigeria and Africa proud."
He added: "I therefore urge you to win the first match against Iran in a way that will send a very clear message to the remaining teams in this tournament that you are in Brazil to win the World Cup. "You must keep the resilient Nigerian spirit with you; be patriotic in exhibiting your prowess and go the extra mile to bring the cup home. Nigerians are eagerly waiting to celebrate you when you come home with the cup," he said. In his response on behalf of the team's officials, Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi, said they would not only make Nigeria proud but the entire African continent as well.
"We assure President Jonathan that we will make Nigeria proud. We will exhibit the character of being a Nigerian and make the nation as well as Africa proud. We are very prepared and if it is possible to take the game right now, we are ready," he said.