The Youth and Sports Minister Barrister Solomon Dalung has traced the qualification of the Super Eagles for the 2018 Russia World Cup to hard work, determination and sacrifice by all involved in the journey.
Dalung made the remark while heaping encomiums on the Super Eagles after they defeated Zambia 1-0 at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo to clinch Africa’s first ticket to the 2018 World Cup.
The Minister thanked the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for his consistency in releasing intervention funds for the team during the qualification campaign whenever he was called upon.
“Without the benevolence of President Muhammadu Buhari, it wouldn’t have been easy for us to achieve this huge success. He always gave approvals and releases for intervention funds whenever we called upon him for assistance. We are happy that another milestone has been recorded under the President Buhari administration.”
Dalung, who was in company of his Works, Housing and Power counterpart, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) who represented the President at the match, said the manner in which the qualifiers were prosecuted without unnecessary drama or calculations associated with Super Eagles’ qualification matches in the past is worthy of commendation.
“This is because it will be the first time that a World Cup qualifier is being prosecuted without a Presidential Task Force with a bogus budget. This has also saved the government billions of naira with the same result achieved with less funds,” he said.
Dalung praised the Nigeria Football Federation, led by its President Pinnick Amaju, for their hard work in ensuring that the Super Eagles qualified for the next World Cup.
“Soccer is not just a game in Nigeria but a religion and passion. No excuse would have been tenable if Nigeria had failed to qualify. So I must commend the leadership of the NFF including the support rendered by the technical department and other board members for every role each one of you played to achieve success. We also doff our hats for the good people and Government of Akwa Ibom state for being great hosts to the Super Eagles”
With the world cup qualification already secured, despite still having a game against Algeria in November, Dalung said attention must now shift to the 2019 AFCON qualification campaign.