The President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, has charged the Super Eagles not to be downcast following their 2-0 loss to Madagascar in their final group game at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) last weekend.
The NFF boss while having a long chat with the Eagles in Egypt. In the company of the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, Mr Pinnick told the players to put the shock defeat behind them and face the remaining games starting with their Round of 16 fixture with renewed vigour.
According to Mr Pinnick, if the Super Eagles put in their best going forward and desist from seeing any team as minows, the dream of returning to Aso Rock with the Afcon trophy will be achieved
“No team should be underestimated. No team should be underrated,” Mr Pinnick warned the Eagles after the humbling defeat suffered against tournament debutants Madagascar.
He continued: “It is just an eye-opener because we were preparing to play a weak team in the second round, but there’s no weak team in AFCON.
“So, now let the big teams come and let’s be ready for them.
“In the last AFCON we won, Mikel will tell you, we started slowly and were 10 minutes away from been eliminated in the first round then we scored twice against Ethiopia and went on to win the title.
“Individually, let us rekindle our spirit. Let us not look at what they would say back home, let us look at what we can do on the field in our next game.
“I had to drag the governor of Abia State to come here and another delegation coming in the next few days.
“I have a lot to do, a lot to drag them to come and you guys must help the NFF. “There is no team that is not beatable or unbeaten but please let us redouble our effort,” the NFF President pleaded.
While appealing to the players to step up their game, Mr Pinnick who is also the first Vice President of CAF said the charge must not be seen as undue pressure.
“We are not pushing the burden on you; it is the collective burden from all of us.
“Please let us make that old man very proud, he has ensured that you get everything… Like I told you, we already have your bonuses until the final and we don’t want to take it back home
“Let them call us whatever name, but we know that we will be berthing in Aso Rock with the trophy, that is the spirit I want from you all,” the NFF president said.
Nigeria are three-time African champions following triumphs in 1980, 1994 and 2013.
The Super Eagles will on Saturday face Cameroon in the Round of 16.