The federal government has called on football loving Nigerians not to relent in their support for the Super Eagles at the on going FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Minister of Youth and Sports Solomon Dalung made the appeal on Sunday after Nigeria lost their opening Group D match against Croatia.
He regretted the loss but assured that all hope was not lost yet.
“It is unfortunate that we did not win the opening match against Croatia which would have served as a morale booster at the group stage but we will not lose hope.
“The Federal government is doing its best to ensure that the Super Eagles excel in Russia. Even the President of the federal Republic of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari took time out to motivate the players yesterday and to assure them of his unflinching support for the team .
“I personally added $5,000 to their winning bonus to motivate the team but we must still keep our hopes alive because this is just the beginning.
“I urge the players to remain focused while the technical department will have to put heads together with the coach to salvage our next two matches against Iceland and Argentina. If we win our next matches against Iceland and Argentina, then we can qualify from the group.”
Dalung however urged Nigerians to continue rooting for team.
“The Super Eagles are a work in progress. It’s a very young team and we are nurturing them for greater exploits not only for now but for the future. We are not giving any excuses but we must continue to rally round our team irrespective of the result recorded on Saturday.
“I appeal to football loving Nigerians, supporters and well wishers to rally behind the Super Eagles and pray for them ahead of their next game against Iceland. I strongly believe that despite the disappointing start, the Super Eagles will come out strong from the group”.
Earlier, Dalung had led the federal government’s delegation comprising the governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, the Nigerian Ambassador to Russia Prof. Steve Ugbah, House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Sports, Hon. Goni Lawan Buka, the CBN Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele and other dignitaries to visit the players in their Kaliningrad camp.
He assured them and the technical team of government’s support in their quest to post a decent representation at the World.