The Nigeria Football Federation has praised the performance of the U23 National Team, Olympic Eagles, in qualifying for the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations after a 5-0 mauling of their Sudanese counterparts, just as it noted the impressive streak of the National Teams in qualifying for major competitions.
NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said on Thursday that the Federation was elated at the performance of the U23 boys, not only for the high score win, but also for the steel, savvy and smoothness with which the performance was delivered.
“The 5-0 victory was very sweet, but what made it sweeter was the way it was delivered. And from that game and from the delivery of the Super Eagles in the friendly with Ukraine later that night which ended 2-2, we can confidently say that the future of the Nigeria senior team is bright.
“We had a very young team out there in Ukraine as a result of the forced withdrawal of some of the old breed, yet they delivered a heartwarming performance that everyone was proud of.”
Sanusi noted that the qualification of the U23 boys for the Olympics qualifying tournament in Egypt meant that none of the National Teams had failed to qualify for a major tournament in the past 18 months.
“The last Nigeria team to fail to qualify for a major competition was the U17 girls, when they lost to Cameroon on the away goal rule in January 2018, in the final qualifying round for the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup.
“Since then, the Super Eagles have played at the FIFA World Cup in Russia; the Falconets have played at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in France; the Golden Eaglets have won the WAFU Cup in Niger Republic; the Super Falcons have played at and won the Women AFCON in Ghana and; the Supersand Eagles have qualified for the FIFA Beach World Cup from the African finals in Egypt.
“The Flying Eagles have qualified for the FIFA U20 World Cup and played at the finals in Poland; the Golden Eaglets have qualified for the FIFA U17 World Cup taking place in Brazil later this year and; the Super Eagles have played at the biggest –ever AFCON and came back home with the bronze medals.”
The NFF scribe assured that the Football House is alive to its responsibilities and will ensure that the teams keep shining and bringing honour to the country.
“Apart from the U23 AFCON in Egypt, we have the FIFA U17 World Cup in Brazil; the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay and; the WAFU Nations Cup in Senegal. We also have the 2021 AFCON qualifiers and the CHAN 2020 qualifiers, and the Super Falcons are in the race for the ticket to next year’s Olympics women’s football tournament.
“We have all these matches and championships in focus. Our objective is to ensure quality preparation for each of the teams involved in order that they will be good ambassadors of our nation both on and off the pitches in all these programmes.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation has noted that the Chief Coach of the Super Eagles, Salisu Yusuf has now fully served the one –year suspension clamped on him last year.
The Federation thanked Coach Imama Amapakabo for his sterling efforts while in charge of the U23 National Team in the absence of the suspended Yusuf, and for eventually seeing to the team’s qualification for the U23 AFCON.