The Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan-Enoh has expressed concern following the Super Eagles' draw against the Crocodiles of Lesotho on Thursday in Uyo.
The minister made the remark in a statement released on Friday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Eagles opened their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a drab 1-1 draw with lowly-rated Lesotho at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.
Owan-Enoh who had joined other sports-loving Nigerians to watch the match at the stadium, said the result fell short of expectations.
"The Government and football-loving people of Nigeria take the qualification for the 2026 World Cup very seriously and want the Super Eagles to qualify.
"Having missed out on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, qualifying for the 2026 World Cup is not negotiable," he said.
The minister charged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the technical crew to urgently address the observed lapses from the Thursday match, ahead of the Zimbabwe match on Sunday.
"I urge the Nigeria Football Federation to look into and correct all the lapses observed in Thursday's match with the aim of putting in a much better performance in Rwanda on Sunday, Nov. 19, against Zimbabwe," he said.
Addressing the broadcasting limitations that prevented some Nigerians from watching the national team in action, Owen-Enoh urged the NFF to register Nigeria's dissatisfaction with the appropriate authorities.
"We understand that the qualifiers are FIFA-organised, and so the television broadcasting rights are within purview of the world football governing body.
"It is not good enough that many Nigerians could not watch their national team play in their country.
"A repeat of same should be avoided, and NFF will be expected to register Nigeria's displeasure with the appropriate authority in FIFA," he said.
The minister called on all Nigerians to support the team, while urging them to exhibit sharper gameplay throughout the remaining qualifying series. (NAN)