Nigeria’s (top L-R) Leon Balogun, William Ekong, Anthony Nwakaeme, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Onyinye Ndidi, John Ogu, (bottom L-R) Abdullahi Shehu, Alexander Iwobi, Ola Aina, Oghenekaro Etebo, and Kelechi Iheanacho pose prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B qualifying football match between Algeria and Nigeria at the Chahid Hamlaou Stadium in Constantine on November 10, 2017. RYAD KRAMDI / AFP
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung has revealed that Super Eagles’ players will from March next year begin to get their camp allowances ahead of the Russia World Cup slated to kick off in June 2018.
The Minister told State House Correspondents yesterday that a proposal of about N3 billion has already been forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval to enable the team and the technical crew start preparation in earnest for the competition.
Fielding questions after a closed-door meeting with President Buhari at Presidential Villa, Abuja, Dalung said the Nigerian national team was ready to beat Argentina again and discredit the notion that the Super Eagles were going to the World Cup as the underdog going by FIFA ranking.
He said that the sports ministry placed high premium on the welfare of players and the technical crew, having discovered that welfare had always become the problem of the team.
“ Nigeria falls within Group D and we appear to be the under dog going by the ranking of the teams. But I think ranking is more or less a paper job… what is very important is how you will perform. I believe that we are comfortable with the team because having tested Argentina, which is a highly ranked team in the group, we can say confidently that with good work, good training, good welfare for the players and team spirit, we will top that group going by the disposition of our national team.
“Some people, who have been arguing that Argentina did not present their best in the friendly game against us, but we also have some players we didn’t invite and we also intend to invite them. It is an issue that would be determined practically by the level of preparation of the Nigerian team. Don’t forget that the Nigerian team had enjoyed a formidable home support and they are inspired to deliver.”
Dalung said the team will play “more friendlies to try to determine our strength and areas of improvement before the final competition.”
On what the government was doing to ensure that the Super Eagles reached the final and clinch the cup, he said, “When you have a problem, for you to successfully address your problem, you have to review the history of your problem.