• The Sun MD, NFF President optimistic Nigeria could win World Cup
Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has promised bumper incentives for members of the Super Eagles as the World Cup kicks off next month.
He tasked the Federal Government to put in place necessary things that would make the national team perform well at Russia 2018.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, yesterday, while declaring open The Sun World Cup seminar, Governor Wike said the Super Eagles has everything to make Nigeria proud.
The seminar, with the theme: “That Super Eagles may excel in Russia 2018 and beyond” was organised by The Sun’s programme to mobilise support for the national team.
Wike said: “We have every reason to be optimistic about the performance of Super Eagles. They did extremely well during qualifying rounds and they are also doing well in their friendly matches.
“We must ensure that our team is well resourced, well prepared and well motivated to fight for victory at the competition. This means we cannot continue to do things in the usual way and expect miracle to happen. The team needs all the support, all the love and prayers of Nigerians to feel frontally inspired and give their all best.”
The governor commended The Sun Publishing Ltd for organising the seminar, while giving assurance that Rivers State would not relent in supporting the Super Eagles and other sporting activities for the development of sports in the country.
Earlier in his address, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Eric Osagie, said it was not impossible for Nigeria to win the World Cup, as he described sports as a passion, life and big business.
“We believe that though tongue and tribe may differ in Nigeria, though political parties may differ, in brotherhood of sports, in soccer, Nigerians are united. When soccer speaks, everybody understands the language. It does not matter where you come from.
“We decided to organise this event to galvanise support for the Super Eagles and, in deed, Nigerians, towards a successful outing in Russia 2018. We do not believe that participation is enough. We believe that Super Eagles can, in deed, win the World Cup. That is the message you must take away from this event.”
He urged Nigerians not to be pessimistic, charging them to be optimistic that Super Eagles could surprise the world in the quadrennial tournament.
“We should not be defeatists before we start something. I don’t believe that we cannot win. You are only defeated in your mind; you win in your mind,” he said.
He said the objective for organising the event in partnership with Intrepid Communications is to return Nigeria to the glorious era of sports, especially football.
“Our dream is not just to be a participant in Russia 2018; we don’t want to go there to make up the number, we don’t want to go there and clap hands and come back to say we tried. Our dream is, at the end of this event (competition), we should be able to come back with the World Cup.”
Osagie lauded Governor Wike and described the state as the home of sports. He noted that major sporting events were held in the state because Governor Wike is a lover and supporter of sports.
In his remarks, Minister of Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalung, who was represented by Dr. (Mrs.) Esther Oluwatoye-Aluko, said the Federal
Government has demonstrated commitment to ensuring fruitful outing in Russia.
Also, the President, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, noted that Super Eagles’ qualification for this year’s Mundial was “very tortuous journey and symbolic” appealed to Nigerians to be optimistic that the national team could emerge victorious, saying, “Nigerian football will rise again.”