Sports minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung has reiterated that the federal government is fully behind efforts in place by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to ensure the Super Eagles get adequate preparations towards the World Cup.
Dalung said he is happy to see the NFF have arranged quality build-up matches for the Eagles, and promised that the sports ministry will play key roles towards ensuring their successful execution of the upcoming matches against DR Congo, England and Czech Republic.
He, however, stressed that soccer fans also have roles to play, and appealed to Nigerians to show solidarity and support to ensure the Eagles’ success in Russia
In a statement issued by his special assistant on media, Nneka Ikem-Anibeze, Dalung also thanked Eagles’ players for their commitment, patriotism and unity of purpose of recent.
He urged the team, NFF and other stakeholders to continue to produce the desired results in their friendly games and aspire to win the cup.
Dalung, though, went on to warn that the NFF should not be distracted with the award of slots to prospective supporters to Russia.
The minister commended the coaching crew and urged them to remain focused in their preparations, but emphasized that priority would be given to the players and officials for flight slots, before considering sponsoring individuals.
Dalung, however, said that the NFF was preoccupied with preparation of the team and its officials for the competition and should not be distracted with the award of slots to prospective supporters to Russia.
He said: “We appreciate the desire of Nigerians to travel to Russia and support the team but it is worthy of note that every plan on ground will focus on the welfare of the team and officials.
“The team having qualified for the World Cup is a Nigerian team, therefore, preparation of delegations and mobilization of support is the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“I sincerely commend the Federal Government and Nigerians for their unflinching support and solidarity to the team and officials.
“As we look forward to playing our remaining friendly matches with DR Congo, England and the Czech Republic, government assures that every step will be taken to ensure a smooth operation of the matches.
“I also appeal to Nigerians to show their solidarity and support to see the team to victory. I urge the Federation to concentrate on its mandate and avoid the distraction of allocation of slots to people interested in traveling to Russia for the World Cup.
“However, any Nigerian with the capacity to travel to Russia to support the Super Eagles is not limited by this advice.
“I wish the Super Eagles of Nigeria the best and look forward to an amazing performance in Russia 2018.”