*We are going to Russia as contenders
By Oluwole Francis
Youth and Sports Development Minister, Solomon Dalung, has declared that Nigeria will go to the Russia 2018 World Cup as a strong contender for the diadem at stake and not as a spectator making up the numbers of the participants.
Still basking in the euphoria of Super Eagles’ 4-2 victory over the Argentine national team in a friendly on Tuesday night, in Krasnador in Russia, Mr Dalung boasted that the nation was going to the World Cup in Russia to make a statement, just as he urged opponents to ‘watch out for the new Nigerian soccer.’
Briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister ascribed the Eagles’ victory to the unity of purpose which, he said, inspired the players to stun the two-time former World Cup winners by recovering from two goals down to win 4-2 in Krasnodar on Tuesday.
He said, “We engaged the team to test and from what happened on Tuesday, there is no doubt that Nigeria has made a statement.
“The joy of it all is that there is a unity of purpose among the administrators, our players are in high spirit and they are prepared to make Nigeria proud.
“This victory couldn’t have been possible if there was no consensus of all the stakeholders in the football family. When I talk about stakeholders, I am looking at the football fans, I am looking at the media, private sector, the government, partners and the promoters.”
Dalung assured that the 2018 World Cup trophy will be heading towards Nigeria, with the sustained hard work on the part of all and sundry to make the nation proud.
He added that he was in the State House to officially inform Council that Nigeria has qualified for the World Cup, Russia 2018 having completed its match with Algeria and rounded up all of its competitions without losing any match in the entire campaign.