Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Former French international footballer, Christian Karembeu, has expressed confidence that the Super Eagles, as continental giant, will give Africa quality representation at the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Speaking during a media parley to herald the arrival of the FIFA World Cup trophy tour to Nigeria in Abuja yesterday, he noted that having been privileged to play with many Nigerian players, he has no iota of doubt that the Super Eagles will do well in Russia.
“I am very glad to be part of the trophy tour in Nigeria. Nigeria deserves to be at the World Cup because she is great football country in the African continent. We have great players to have come out of this country that played for the Super Eagles. Hopefully, hosting the FIFA World Cup trophy will motivate the players to play for the trophy in Russia,” he noted. The Managing Director of Coca-Cola, Bhupendra Suni, said that he is very sure that the Super Eagles will do well in Russia and make the soccer-loving Nigerians proud, just as he promised to sponsor some fans for the tournament.
“On behalf of the company, we are incredibly honoured to welcome the FIFA World Cup trophy tour in Nigeria. I just want to remind everybody that this is the third times the trophy is taking a tour of Nigeria. We urge Nigerians to be ready for the trophy tour because it offers a life time opportunity to them.
“The trophy has travelled 91 cities and it started from Russia in September last year. Nigeria is one of those countries that the trophy is embarking on global tour. Interestingly Nigeria is one of those countries that the trophy is slated for two cities.
”It will be in Abuja and Lagos. We have the permission for the trophy to cover 211 countries in six continents. We are already optimistic that the Super Eagles will definitely make us proud in Russia. That is why we are proud and happy to identify with the team,” he noted.
Similarly, the Managing Director Nigeria Bottling Company Ltd, George Polynenakes, commended the passion and enthusiasm of the Nigerian football fans, adding that he was rating Greece as craziest fans until he came to Nigeria.
His words: “Our desire is that in no distance time, we will not only be celebrating FIFA World Cup trophy but hosting a major preoccupation tournament in this country.”
As for the Super Eagles, I am very optimistic that the team will do well. There is amazing passion about football in Nigeria.
“I thought the Greeks were crazy about football but when I came to this part of the world, I was made to understand what passion in football actually means and what it mean to love this game. Therefore, Nigeria deserve to have thus trophy and celebrate its presence. Nigerians deserve to have victory from the Super Eagles in Russia,” he added.
Commenting, the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Pinnick Amaju, simply commended the sponsors for supporting the team, stressing: “We appreciate the contributions of our sponsors especially Coca-Cola brand which is like a religion in Nigeria and we don’t have choice then to art restorer them.
“Their support will motivate the team to do well in Russia. We have partnership with Coca-Cola for the next five years which technically means that we have to qualify for the next edition of the tournament,” he added.
Earlier, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung led a delegation that had a first view of the trophy inside the chartered aircraft.
There were also NFF President Amaju Pinnick; Senator Obinna Ogba (Chairman, Senate Committee on Youth and Sports); Hon. Bukar Goni Lawan (Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Youth and Sports); Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi (NFF 1st Vice President); Mr. Shehu Dikko (NFF 2nd Vice President) and; Dr. Mohammed Sanusi (NFF General Secretary).
PHOTO 1: Karembeu explains something to Sports Minister Dalung while Ogba and Lawan (right) and Pinnick and Sanusi