Super Eagles’ Captain, Mikel John Obi has declared that though the three –time African champions have respect for 2012 AFCON winners Zambia, the total commitment to ensuring early qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals will see Nigeria wrap up the campaign next weekend.
Captain Mikel, who has had a marvelous run in the qualifying series, playing commendable leadership role, told thenff.com that he is fully dedicated to the assignment of leading his teammates out on the turf of Godswill Akpabio Stadium to secure the sole ticket in Group B on 7th October.
“I must admit that I applaud the resurgence of the Zambians this late in the qualifiers. Beating Algeria home and away is no mean feat. We will take them very serious on 7th October because they clearly have a new spirit. It is time we wrap this up.”
Speaking further on the relative smooth –run the Eagles have had in this campaign compared to earlier FIFA World Cup qualifying races, the former Chelsea FC of England midfielder pin –pointed professionalism, determination and ambition as the factors that have swung the pendulum Nigeria’s way, whilst also heaping praises on Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr.
“We have all shown professionalism, dedication and determination to be at the pole position in a group tagged ‘Group of Death.’
“Commendations must go to the entire team and the Coach, but we must finish it up in Uyo and secure our ticket right there.”
Bondo to take charge of Nigeria, Zambia showdown
Joshua Bondo, a 39 –year old referee from Botswana who has been an international arbiter for the past 10 years, will take charge of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying cracker between Nigeria and Zambia in Uyo next week Saturday.
World football –ruling body FIFA has appointed Bondo alongside his countrymen Oamogetse Godisamang (40, an international assistant referee since year 2010), who will serve as Assistant Referee 1, and Tirelo Mositwane (30, an international referee since 2013), who will serve as Fourth Official. Souru Phatsoane from Lesotho will be the Assistant Referee 2.
Mr. Carlos Manuel Neves Henriques from South Africa will be the Referee Assessor while Sudanese Osama Hassan Ataaelmanan, who was Match Commissioner for the Day 4 clash between the Super Eagles and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Yaounde on 4th September, will repeat the same role in Uyo on 7th October.
Three –time African champions Nigeria will seal a sixth FIFA World Cup appearance with the minimum win in Uyo, in a clash that will see the winners of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and the champions of the 2013 edition come face-to-face in a match of huge significance. Kick –off is 5pm at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.