By Jacob Ajom
Former handler of the national team, Paul Hamilton, has commended the minister of sports and chairman of the National Sports Commission, Isa Bio, for the timely intervention over the national teamâ€™s World Cup camp in South Africa.
He praised the ministerâ€™s insistence on a world class hotel for the players, saying the Eagles deserved the best as their counterparts from other parts of the world.
Said he:Â â€œOur players deserve good accommodation like players from other parts of the world. They are competing in the same tournament and should not be made to look inferior before other nationals.â€
Hamilton, who as handler of the national team missed the 1990 World Cup, said governmentâ€™s intervention in the hotel saga was good and indicative that Nigeria was serious about the World Cup project.
On the fine Nigeria will pay to the management of Hampshire Hotel, the former Nigeria international said, â€œthe fine is in order. When you breach a contract there is always a penalty. There should be no problem about that.â€
He was of the view that Nigeria could still do well at the World Cup in South Africa if every stakeholder did his job and the players put their acts together. Hamiltonâ€™s only worry was the time to prepare the team before the Mundial.
He disagreed with those who say Nigeria did not have a team yet, insisting that Nigeriaâ€™s team to the Mundial would not be far from the team that prosecuted the 2010 Africa Nations Cup in Angola.
â€œNigeria has a team,â€ he started, adding, rather quizzically, â€œeven Lagerback says he knows 80% of the team, so why do people continue to say that we have no team?
â€œIndividually, the boys have been playing for their clubs, but Nigerians want to see them play as a team before the World Cup. Psychologically, they are in top shape, what is required now is to bring them together so that they could adapt to each other, fraternise and forge a united front for the task ahead. I think if all this is done, the boys will be great.â€