The Super Eagles are billed to fly into Volgograd, Russia on Thursday, just 24 hours to their second group match of the 2018 World Cup against Iceland.
This much was disclosed by first vice-president of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, who asserted on Tuesday that all the players have recovered from the disappointment of their opening group loss to Croatia on Saturday.
Akinwunmi, who is also chairman of Lagos State Football Association, stressed that the Eagles have put behind them the disappointment by Croatia and eager to get maximum points in their remaining Group D encounters.
Akinwunmi, who is also chairman of the NFF Organizing Committee, said in Saint Petersburg that they expect a winning performance from the three-time African champions against Iceland on Friday.
He also disclosed that the Eagles will depart their Essentuki base camp in the Stavropol region of Russia to Volgograd on Thursday, ahead of Friday evening’s clash (kick-off 4pm in Nigeria).
“Like all Nigerians back home, and like the team itself, the NFF was not happy with the loss to Croatia. But the Eagles have climbed that cloud now and ready to conquer.
“They have put behind them the defeat and looking ahead with determination to the remaining two games.
“I can confirm to you that the team is not lacking motivation in any way. Our agreement with them was that they would get their entire money for the group phase once they qualify; it is not a match-by-match basis.
“So, they are aware that if they win the remaining matches or just achieve the minimum to qualify from the group, they will still earn the money for all three matches.”
Akinwunmi praised Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung for rallying Nigerians behind the team and staying behind in Russia to support the team in the remaining matches.
“We cannot fully express our appreciation to the Sports Minister, who has called on Nigerians to keep supporting the team and personally expressed belief in the team’s ability to reach the knockout rounds.
“We still have him with us here in Russia and he will lead the delegation to the match against Iceland in Volgograd.
“The Sports Minister led a Federal Government to Russia and led the delegation to Kaliningrad for the first match. Alongside, the Nigeria Ambassador, Professor Steve Davies Ugbah.
“He called President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) to talk to the team before the match. Government support is total for the team, and motivation is huge, so they have no reason not to go all out on Friday.”
He said Dalung also greatly inspired the Eagles during the qualifying race, personally leading the delegation to the matches in Zambia and Cameroon and being also on ground in Uyo for all the home matches against Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.
“It is now left for the team to go all out and give Nigerians joy by winning their remaining games,” Akinwunmi added.