By Ime Bassey
Former Secretary General of Nigerian Football Association, NFA, Alhaji Sani Toro has said that what is important for the Eagles now is qualifying for the CAF Africa Nations Cup and not the International friendly against Argentina.
Speaking from his base in Bauchi, the former Bauchi State sports commissioner however, expressed his happiness on the level of preparations made by the football house in giving the technical crew led by Samson Siasia friendly matches. “Well, I hope and pray that Nigeria will concentrate on the Ethiopia match which is more important. I am not saying that Argentine is not a big side. I know definitely we will not underrate them as we know that, playing them anywhere will always be a big one. But qualifying for the Nations Cup is more important,” Alhaji Toro started.
On the issue of the present weather condition in Ethiopia, the former FA scribe said “our players are all professionals, they are used to games like this. They should be able to adjust in Addis Ababa.
“I am happy with the preparations so far from both the FA and the technical crew. They have made it a necessity for the team to play friendly matches and tournaments. The technical crew needs to make sure they win in Ethiopia because anything short of victory, Nigerians will not forgive them as it will affect our chances for the continental showpiece,” Toro warned.
He also commented on the technical crew led by Samson Siasia and the issue of Osaze Odemwingie’s exclusion from the team for both the friendly and Ethiopia ties.
“Siasia has his reasons for doing it and so long as the technical committee accepted the list, there is no problem about it. My hope is that, other players will seat up. For Osaze, he is a very good player. He is one of the very few players that has saved Nigeria in many competitions.
“Siasia is a very good coach, no doubt about it but he is not the best in the country. I am happy with the way he has been supported by everybody. We should understand that, this is not the time to criticize him because he deserves total support from Nigerians. If he wins, it is Nigeria that wins. I am praying for him that he gets the team to the Nations Cup and do us proud,” Toro said.
The former Federal House of Representatives member stressed the need for the Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Alhaji Taoheed Adedoja to step into the issue of the parallel NFA for the country’s football not to surfer.
“I have already spoken with the Sports Minister, telling him that he has to resolve this matter in the interest of our football because we need to stop allowing unnecessary distractions coming into our football. The group that is doing this has a right to freedom of association. We know that Decree 101 has not been repealed but that does not give people the opportunity to capitalize on it.
“What we need is to put our heads together so our football can progress, that is my prayer. I pray the Minister calls them for a dialogue. He should be able to settle any problem between the two bodies. He is the minister, even though he has one day to leave the office. He has to take that decision before he vacates the seat,” Toro added.