Super Eagles’ coach Gernot Rohr (middle back) warms up with players during the Russia 2018 World Cup training session at Essentuki Arena, southern Russia…yesterday. PHOTO: AFP
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday begged Super Eagles’ fans to desist from doing things that could cause disaffection among the players, saying the team needs to be psychologically ready for Friday’s second group game against Iceland.
The Super Eagles, based in Essentuki, are scheduled to move to Volgograd, venue of the second game, tomorrow
Addressing the media yesterday in St. Petersburg, NFF First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi said it has become imperative for every Nigerian to rally round the Eagles, as they try to qualify for the second round of the competition after the opening day loss to Croatia, adding that the team needs all the emotional and psychological support it can get ahead of the remaining matches against Iceland and Argentina.
“These players have families, who read and report all the negative things said or written about them and it doesn’t help the cause. We should think of the country in everything we do,” he said.
He cautioned the politicians campaigning for the forthcoming NFF polls to respect the country and stop distracting the team with their campaigns, adding that they would have ample time to solicit for votes after the World Cup.
‘’If I had my way I will move the NFF elections out of the World Cup year because we have seen that some people are using it to distract our team. We are here for the World Cup and it is wrong for anybody to carry on as if he doesn’t care what happens to our team here,” he said.
Akinwunmi revealed that the Super Eagles were isolated in Essentuki to give them room to concentrate on their games, adding that the team has the priority attention of Federal Government, especially President Muhammadu Buhari.
‘’We prepared the team for two years and particularly in the last two months we have focused all attention on the World Cup. We kept them in a serene environment, where they cannot see or hear anything that would make them dejected because we feel we have a chance of making history in Russia.
‘’The boys are very determined to succeed in Friday’s match, which will determine whether we will remain in the competition or not and I can assure you that the boys are very positive. The defeat on Saturday has brought them closer and there is this determination to make things right on Friday.
‘’They will leave for Volgograd on Thursday to get used to the city and pitch before the game against Iceland,” he said.
Akinwunmi revealed that President Buhari has been keeping in touch with the players, adding, ‘’the president addressed the players before our match against Croatia.”