The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has stated that the Super Eagles will recover from Sunday’s disappointing ouster from the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Nigeria, after a spotless run in the group phase of the competition, could not advance to the next stage of the tournament in the Round of 16 with a 1-0 loss to Tunisia in Garoua.
The Minister said although the loss was disappointing, the Eagles should not dwell too much on it but pick up vital lessons that would make them better in the future.
“The Super Eagles exit from the AFCON is indeed painful. We had hoped with their prior superlative performances they would advance and come home with a historic victory in our hands, ” Dare said up in a statement on Tuesday.
“Although we did not reach our goal, as a nation we have reason to be proud and optimistic about the future of our team. This collection of individual talents came together to forge a true team. They played hard and in unison, and with a common desire to do Nigeria proud and prove themselves worthy of representing our beloved nation on and off the field of play. In this, they performed admirably.
“The players gave a good account of themselves and did Nigeria proud. They have put Africa and the rest of the world on notice. Nigerian football will be characterised by greater team work, effort and cohesion. This team will improve and become a solid and fierce contender in any competition they are a part of in future.
“Our football, once again was fluid, purposeful and beautiful to watch. We have a good team and Nigeria will help them get better.
“The Eagles distinguished themselves with brilliant soccer displays leading to CAF Technical men voting Austin Eguavoen as the best coach of the group phase.
“We have participated creditably but unfortunately out of the competition, however the fighting spirit and sense of what we can do are strong. As long as we remain committed to teamwork and a common goal, the Super Eagles will become more and more formidable.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank soccer loving Nigerians who followed the team’s participation at the competition,” the Minister said.
Dare also expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his fatherly support and the government’s release of funds to the team, promising that the lessons from the AFCON outing would help the team plan better for the future.
“Our eyes are set on greater glory with this crop of talented and skillful Super Eagles players. We believe in them and will do all we can to ensure they qualify for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar this November and next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cote’d Ivoire,” he also said.