President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Melvin Pinnick has called on the Super Eagles to rise to the occasion and do the nation proud in Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations quarter final battle with South Africa in Cairo.
He spoke as the players began to receive the extra cash promised them soon after they defeated Cameroon on Saturday.
At a meeting with the players at breakfast on Tuesday, Pinnick urged the three-time champions to give their all when confronting the Bafana Bafana.
“I have confidence in this team and what you are capable of doing. I am just here to re-emphasize the fact that tomorrow’s game is very, very important. Football is the greatest known unifying factor among our peoples across different mental and physical boundaries, and victory will help to further solidify our unity.
“Anytime you are playing and winning, our country is united and people forget all their differences in various forms and celebrate together. I want you to take your chances and minimize individual errors at the back and in the midfield.”
Pinnick, who is also the 1st Vice President of CAF, then presented the sum of $75,000 promised the team by NFF’s Official Optimum Partner, AITEO Group, for their three goals against Cameroon in Saturday’s Round of 16 in Alexandria, while assuring them that the $20,000 per player promise made by Captain Hosea Wells Okunbo would be redeemed before Wednesday’s match.
Responding, team captain Mikel John Obi showered encomiums on Pinnick and the NFF, noting that since the advent of his administration; things have improved tremendously for the Super Eagles.
“There is no doubt that your administration has done very, very well for this team. A lot of things have changed with regards to travelling, lodging and other logistics. We stay in the best hotels and fly chartered aircraft to matches. Your good self and the NFF as an institution also make it a point to fulfil all promises made to the team.
“Let me assure you that we are very committed not only to win against South Africa on Wednesday, but to win this championship. We have confidence that we will go all the way.”
Victory over South Africa will take the Super Eagles to the semi finals of the biggest Africa Cup of Nations tournament ever held (involving 24 teams) and for which a Nigerian – Pinnick himself – is President of the Organizing Committee.