Sports Minister, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, has reiterated the Federal Government’s support for the Super Eagles, who are bidding to surmount their previous achievements at the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
Danagogo, again reposed the Nigeria Supporters Club’s confidence in the sport ministry and the leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan when he received members of the worldwide fans group led by its President General, Dr. Rafiu Oladipo, in his office.
The Minister noted that “without the presence of the indefatigable supporters club to spur and motivate the players, they would be like orphans on the field.”
“I am happy with the energy and the zeal that the supporters club is bringing into our participation in the World Cup,” the Sports Minister said.
“Your presence always gives the players a sense of belonging and it motivates them to do better.
“We will now consolidate on the good relationship the club has with the ministry because we want the Super Eagles to surpass their previous records.
“With the semi-finals target that we have for the team, the role of the supporters club cannot be over emphasised.”
He described sport as a potent tool for rebranding Nigeria’s image, build national unity as well as foster peaceful co-existence among citizens.
“Whenever there is a national or international sporting event, Nigerians forget their religious, ethnicity, gender, age, cultural divide and unite as one to support a common goal because sports redefines what we really are or stand for; a peace loving nation.
He also urged the club to mobilise many of its members to support the team in Brazil.
“All our group matches in the World Cup are important to us, but our match against Argentina is one that many people are looking forward to,” he continued.
“I learnt that Argentina had already bought more than 29,000 tickets out of the available tickets for the World Cup, but we should not allow this to deter us.
“Our match against Argentina is a must win for us to stamp our authority at the World Cup, so we need all the support we can get.”
Earlier, President of the club said the club was at the National Sport Commission (NSC) to congratulate the Minister on his appointment and welcome him to “the seat that houses the cradle of unity in Nigeria.”
Oladipo opined that the Supporters Club view their visit to the South American nation as a national service and, as such needs the Ministry’s support.
“The World Cup is a big event and we will be mobilising our members to give the Super Eagles support,” Oladipo said.
“We intend to go to the World Cup with 300 members from Nigeria and 500 from our members across the world and we will need money for accommodation, air fare and match tickets.
“And since we are going on a national service on a project that is for all Nigerians, we are appealing for financial support from the minister.”
Nigeria have been drawn in Group F of the Brazil World Cup and will play Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Argentina in the preliminary round.