Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Musa Amadu, has described Saturday’s home loss to Congo “as a wake-up call”, urging football loving Nigerians not to waiver in their support for the national team.
The Super Eagles were beaten 3-2 in front of a large turnout crowd at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar in the first round of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
“We quite understand that Nigerians were disappointed in the result of the match against the Red Devils from Congo. But there are five more matches in the qualifying series and we see Saturday’s loss as a wake –up call for the African champions,” Amadu said on resumption of official duty at the NFF secretariat on Monday.
“The boys themselves have realised that they have to now double their effort to get to the finals in Morocco, and that is what they have promised for Wednesday’s match against South Africa in Cape Town.”
The team’s delegation, led by NFF Director of Competitions, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme, arrived in Cape Town on Monday morning, after flying to Johannesburg from Lagos overnight on Sunday and connecting a two-hour flight to Cape Town from Joburg.
Wednesday’s crucial encounter is the first of five upcoming qualification fixtures for Nigeria on their track to the 2015 Afcon finals, scheduled for between 17 January and 8 February in Morocco.
They have a two-legged tie with Sudan (away and home) in October before traveling to Brazzaville and hosting South Africa in November.
Nigeria have dominated in their previous meetings with South Africa, claiming 7 of a total of 9 games at full international level with just a draw left between both sides.
Last time out, Eagles team B sealed a 3-1 win over the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) hosts at the Cape Town Stadium- venue of Wednesday’s clash.
However, new ‘Bafana Bafana’ coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba has warned his West African counterpart to “brace up for war”, as his rejuvenated side are raring for victory to make a statement of intent.
“This Nigeria team has been giving us nightmares, but we will fight in every game,” said Mashaba
“This is one time they must brace themselves for war up to the fullest, it won’t be an easy walk in the park for both teams, but what we are looking for is to come out victorious and that win will change a lot of things in our football, both in administration, media wise, any structure that you talk about.
“We win that game [and] things will change for the better.”
Kick-off time: 20:00 CAT (7pm Nigerian time).