By John Egbohkam
Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Sani Ndanusa has made a clarion call on the Eagles not to relent in their quest to secure a 2010 World Cup qualification ticket at the expense of Tunisia.
He has also backed Mozambique to beat Tunisia when both sides clash in the final group match in the first weekend of November.
The north African giant, currently lead Group B with 11 points, two more than their Nigerian rivals, with just one match left for either sides to play next month.
Both teams play their last matches on the road, with the Tunisians, appearing to have the tougher test when they hit Maputo to confront Mozambique at the dreaded Mchamba Stadium while Nigeria play Kenyaâ€™s Harambee Stars in Nairobi.
Having managed to remain in the hunt for the World Cup ticket, courtesy of injury time winner against a dogged Mozambique side, the Nigerians must now beat Kenya to stand any chance of pipping Tunisia to the ticket, while also praying that Mozambique play the spoilersâ€™ role against the Carthage Eagles.
And speaking to Sports Vanguard, Ndanusa, feels that the Eagles can still make it to South Africa 2010, only if they remain dogged and determined to the last second of the match.
â€œThe match against Mozambique was a very difficult one for us but we thank the Almighty for giving us the victory, even when it appeared that it was all over for us. That we scored in the last minute of injury time only goes far to buttress the tensed nature of the game.
â€œI remain positive that we can still make it to the World Cup in South Africa but it can only become a reality if our team fight till the end because in any war, it is not over, until it is over and that is how I see this present challenge that we are experiencingâ€, added Ndanusa, who underlined the need for the Eagles to be resolute in getting the win against Kenya.
â€œWe know that for us to be at the 2010 tournament, that we must beat Kenya and it is up to the players to achieve that target, which I strongly believe they can achieve. Nigerians should believe in these boys because they are the ones on whose our hopes of qualifying rest onâ€, said Ndanusa, who has tipped Mozambique to stun Tunisia.
â€œMozambique are no pushovers. They are a strong side, who can hold their own against Tunisia and I strongly believe that they would beat Tunisiaâ€, said the Sports Minister.