Nigeria’s national football team, Super Eagles met President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday for a farewell ahead of their trip to Russia for the World Cup.
It was an opportunity for Buhari to wish the three time African champions well on their way to a sixth appearance at the world cup.
“You are the youngest team in the tournament, which means you are probably the most inexperienced team, a fact that will not be forgotten by your opponents. But it’s also something you can use to your advantage,” President Buhari told the enthusiastic team.
With each game, you must remember that you are carrying the passions, emotions and feelings of over 180 million people.
Nigeria will take on Lionel Messi’s Argentina, Croatia and Iceland. All their opponents are ranked higher than Nigeria in the rankings of global football governing body, FIFA.
‘‘With each game, you must remember that you are carrying the passions, emotions and feelings of over 180 million people,’‘ Buhari added.
He then charged the team to ‘play fair and clean’ and win in Russia.
Nigeria’s best performances at the World Cup came at the 1994, 1998 and 2014 tournaments where the team reached the round of 16. They will be hoping to go further and possibly surpass the African continent’s best record which is reaching the quarter finals.
The captain of the team, midfielder John Obi Mikel thanked the president for facilitating the team, highlighting that the inherent financial risk that usually plagues the national team ahead of big tournaments had been effectively dealt with.
“This is the first time we’re going to a competition like this with no issues of money, bonuses. All we have to do now is go out there and make Nigeria proud,’‘ Mikel said.