President Muhammadu Buhari will, on Wednesday, receive the Russia 2018 World Cup-bound Super Eagles contingent at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, ahead of their departure to London.
The presidential session with the Eagles was earlier slated for Tuesday evening, but was postponed. This was as the President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, has revealed that the Super Eagles will fly to London on Wednesday, on the same jet that took Liverpool to their UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev.
The session, meant to send-forth the three–time African champions as they depart for their sixth appearance at world football’s biggest showpiece, will take place at the Federal Executive Council chambers.
The weekly Federal Executive Council meeting will not hold.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, will present the country’s ambassadors to Buhari hours before they are due to fly to London aboard a chartered aircraft for another pre-World Cup friendly, this time against England’s Three Lions at Wembley Stadium, on Saturday evening.
In five previous outings at the FIFA World Cup, the Eagles have reached the Round of 16 on three occasions (1994, 1998 and 2014), but exited at the group stage at the 2002 and 2010 finals.
From London, the Eagles delegation will fly into Bad Tatzmannsdorf, a city in Austria, where they will spend eight days at the world–renowned Avita Resort before flying to Russia.
In-between the final camping in Austria, the team will play a final pre-World Cup friendly against the Czech Republic at the Rudolf Tonn Stadium (just outside Vienna), on Wednesday, next week.
Speaking after a seminar on investment for the Eagles in Abuja, Pinnick said, “We’re for the FIFA World Cup in Russia. You can see that we’ve done everything we need to do based on our arrangements. And we’re religiously keeping faith in terms of the preparation.
“I don’t think there is any cause for alarm. So, we’re trying as much as possible to do our best. And everything we are doing is set to motivate the team. Even talking about their future, is to motivate the team so that they can bring in their best. Everything we’re doing is to enhance their performance at the World Cup in Russia. And the seminar we just had, which is the first of its kind in the history of the Super Eagles and Nigerian football, was to motivate the team and to ensure that we care about them now and their future,” Pinnick said.
The NFF boss stressed that giving the players the desired comfort would enhance their performance at the Russia World Cup.
“We’re not the ones to kick the ball. We’re merely doing our beat, and all we need to do is to give them A-Z of what they requested – comfort, hospitality, proper funding, and proper preparation. And those are the things we are going to give them,” Pinnick added.
He maintained his earlier stance that the Super Eagles would win the FIFA World Cup trophy in Russia and added that his prayer is to realise the dream.
He added, however, “I won’t be disappointed if the expectations are not met. To me, that’s football. When Mo Salah was going on to the pitch, he was hoping to be the World Footballer of the Year, but something happened and he was taken out after 35 minutes. That’s football. It can go either way. And I always make the players to know that it is eleven players per side, and should not look at Messiah; look at the ball; look at the pitch; look at your team mates. We talk to them and we live like a family”.
The Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi in his remark after the seminar, urged the players to consider investing as such venture could see the players riding in Bentleys in time to come.