The national beach soccer team, otherwise known as â€˜Supersand Eaglesâ€™ mauled their counterparts from Mauritius 13-0 in their first match of the African Beach Soccer Championship in Durban, South Africa yesterday.
Veteran striker Isiaka Olawale hit six goals past the hapless Mauritian goalkeeper as he nonchallantly announced his fourth appearance at the continental championship.
There were also three goals from another veteran Bartholomew Ibenegbu, one from yet another veteran Ogbonnaya Okemiri, and strikes from new boys Olatubosun Idowu and Garba Baba Yahaya (two) sealed the massive win.
NFF President Sani Lulu Abdullahi, a member of the FIFA Beach Soccer Committee, watched the game and no doubt provided huge motivation for the Nigeria team from the beginning. At the end, the NFF President announced that the teamâ€™s winning bonus will now be $1,000 per player for every game in the group stage, $1,500 for the semi-final and $2,000 for the final. He also announced a donation of $1,000 to the team after the win.
â€œI want you to know that Nigeria is the team every country wants to beat, so you must see this as the beginning of the battle. You must be determined, strategise well so that you can go all the wayâ€, he told them.
Olawale, former U-17 team captain and Lobi Starsâ€™ ace, got the Nigerians on their way right from the 5th minute and the other team in the group, Egypt must have been mesmerized watching the â€˜Supersand Eaglesâ€™ do their thing.
Nigeria has played at two FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup competitions but failed to reach last yearâ€™s finals in Marseille, France. This yearâ€™s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup finals will be staged in Dubai, UAE. Nigeria will take on Egypt on Friday in the game that will most likely decide which team qualifies for the semi-finals from the pool.
The top team in each of the three groups will reach the semi-finals, alongside the best secondâ€“placed team overall.