By Demola Olajire, in South Africa
Stakeholders of Nigeria football who are in the Republic of South Africa for the on â€“going FIFA World Cup finals have been charged to work hard in their various committees and also learn football organization at the highest level in order to have something to take back home.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi gave this mandate to the members of NFF Congress when the latter at a meeting in Richardâ€™s Bay, South Africa on Sunday morning.
â€œSome people back home who love to hear their own voices have been saying nasty things about the fact that you are here at the FIFA World Cup. But I ask them: If we donâ€™t sponsor stakeholders of the game, members of the Congress to the FIFA World Cup, which persons should we sponsor to come here.
â€œThe NFF is not moved by all the noise and cry by those who see nothing good in anything. Weâ€™re fully committed to carrying the stakeholders of the game along in everything we do. None of the campaigns bother us.
â€œBut my charge to you is to work hard in the various committees to which you have all been assigned and learn football organization and planning at the highest level possible, so that when you go back home, you will have much to offer your constituencies.
Ghanaâ€™s win gingers Super Eagles
The Black Starsâ€™ 1_0 victory over Serbia on Sunday, Africaâ€™s first win at this tournament, had the Super Eagles looking forward to their clash with Greece in Bloemfontein on Thursday.
One of the players said: â€œNow that Ghana has won and they are the first African country team to win, the pressure is on us. Everyone is looking forward to our doing something against Greece.
â€œYou know, Mr. President has met with us twice within only three weeks and expressed confidence in our ability to not only qualify from the Group B, but also win the tournament. We donâ€™t want to disappoint him. He has been a rock behind us and we want to make him happy.
â€œYou also know about the rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria. Now that Ghana has won, we also are condemned to win our next game and then the next one, so that we can reach the Round of 16 as a first stepâ€, said the player.
Ghanaâ€™s victory over Serbia, motherland of their coach Milovan Rajevac means the Black Stars will qualify for the Round of 16 if they beat Australia in Rustenburg on Saturday, even if they donâ€™t survive the onslaught of Germany in Soccer City on June 23.
Another Super Eagle said: â€œWe just have to do what we have to do. This is time for total onslaught. We must take the bull by the horn against Greece and give ourselves the needed confidence before the match with Korea in Durbanâ€.
Eagles observe rest day
The Nigeria camp observed rest day on Monday, and the players went on relaxation exercises at the Protea Hotel Waterfront in Richardâ€™s Bay.
Technical Adviser Lars Lagerback gave the players a day off to relax their minds and try to think of other things to clear their heads ahead of resumption of training on Tuesday, 48 hours before the very crucial Group B clash with Greece in Bloemfontein.
Nigeria face Greece at the 45,000 â€“capacity Free State Stadium on Thursday needing a win to stay firmly in the campaign.
Players strolled in front of the hotel while some engaged in table tennis, some others played light volleyball and yet some drove to the shopping mall just to take their minds off football for the day.
Training resumes on Tuesday with serious tactical planning ahead of Thursdayâ€™s session which is expected to be fast â€“paced given the fact that both teams lost their first match and they need to win to have hope of going ahead in the tournament.