Gusau: AFCON triumph will underscore the significance of the Nigerian Spirit

President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Ibrahim Musa Gusau believes that Super Eagles’ victory over the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in the 34th Africa Cup of Nations Final on Sunday will once more confirm to Nigerians at home and abroad the ultra-potency of the much-talked-about Nigerian Spirit.


‘We have always been talking about the Nigerian Spirit but many people simply pay lip service to it. The Nigerian Spirit is of high significance; it is the overpowering conviction that we can get things done with our will-power, hard work, diligence and perseverance.


‘Presently, we may be having challenges in certain sectors and facets of our national life, but the Nigerian Spirit can propel us to overcome those challenges and then reach for glory. That is what the Super Eagles have shown here. At the beginning of the tournament, very few people believed in the team. Now, six matches after, we are looking at the trophy and I believe it will definitely be ours.’


The experienced administrator has called on Nigerians from all walks of life to pray for the Super Eagles’ triumph on Sunday. ‘The triumph will certainly rejuvenate our collective passion to work for the greatness of our communities and the nation at large, and rekindle hope that all present challenges will soon become thorns that we have left behind us.’


The Super Eagles, who failed to win any of their two opening matches in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in November, and lost 0-2 to Guinea in a friendly in Abu Dhabi five days to the opening match of the AFCON, are unbeaten at this championship and will start as favourites against an Ivorian side that has miraculously found itself at this end of the rope.


Gusau used the opportunity to mourn the five individuals who lost their lives during the tension-soaked penalty shootout victory over South Africa’s Bafana Bafana in Bouaké on Wednesday.


‘The Super Eagles already had a minute silence for the dead, but I also want to pray to God to grant the souls of the departed eternal rest. Football is a game of intense passion and the capacity for shock and disappointing results is different from one person to the other. We pray that God will grant the families and friends left behind by the dead the fortitude to bear the losses.’


Sunday’s encounter will be Nigeria’s eighth Final appearance in the 67-year old continental flagship competition, with only seven-time champions Egypt and four-time champions Ghana with more Final-day games. Egypt have been in the Final a total of 10 times, losing out only thrice. Ghana have been in the Final nine times, winning only four times.

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