1 September 2017

Nigeria: Pinnick Wants Eagles to Play With Passion

Photo: Daily Monitor
(file photo).

President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Member of the CAF Executive Committee, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick has charged the Super Eagles to commit heart, soul and spirit to today's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against the Lions of Cameroon in Uyo.

Pinnick, who is also a Member of the Organising Committee for FIFA Competitions, said yesterday that the much-respect Nigerian spirit that conquers so many adversities will see the three-time African champions through, but insisted the Eagles must approach the game with a never-say-die mentality at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

"This is a very crucial match and the players know so. The Cameroonians are not coming here to simply appraise the serenity and beauty of the city of Uyo; they are coming to contest the three points.

"The Super Eagles must throw everything - their body, heart and spirit - into the game. Those three points are very important to our FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, and I am confident we will get them."

Eagles' Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr has already announced that former junior international Ikechukwu Ezenwa, who penultimate weekend captained the Nigerian team to qualify for next year's African Nations Championship, will start in goal. Two other former junior internationals Dele Ajiboye and Dele Alampasu are also available in the goalkeeping department.

In skipper John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses (both returning after missing the Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in June), Oghenekaro Etebo and John Ogu (midfield), Odion Ighalo, Anthony Nwakaeme and Aaron Samuel (frontline), Rohr also has the personnel with the physique and stubborn mentality to match the Lions and even more.

Germany-based Leon Balogun, who also missed the clash with South Africa, returns and is likely to pair Olympic bronze medallist William Ekong in central defence, with another Olympic bronze medallist Abdullahi Shehu, as well as Elderson Echiejile, Tyronne Ebuehi, Uche Agbo and Chidozie Awaziem also available for Rohr in the rearguard sector.

England-based Wilfred Ndidi and Turkey-based duo of Ogenyi Onazi and Mikel Agu are also available in midfield, with Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon and Kelechi Iheanacho able to offer pace and invention in the attack.

Friday's match will kick off at 5pm. Both teams clash again at the Stade Omnisports Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde on Monday, starting from 6pm

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