Youth and Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung alongside top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) led by its President, Amaju Pinnick, will be in the stands when Nigeria confront Niger Republic in the Group C second opener of the 4th African Nations Championship on Monday evening.
The Super Eagles B clash with the Mena of Niger is scheduled to take place at the Stade Regional Nyamirambo, from 5pm Nigeria time.
The minister and NFF delegation arrived Kigali on Sunday and had dinner with the players and officials of the Super Eagles at the Hills View Hotel.
“I want to assure you that Government and people of Nigeria are with you as you start this campaign for honours. President Buhari has mandated me to tell me that you should confront all challenges with courage and confidence because he is with you in spirit”, Dalung told the Nigerian team after the dinner.
“You have shown excellent patriotic spirit and we are proud of you. Go to battle with the mind to conquer,” he added.
The Eagles which underwent three-week training tour at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, South Africa, will start as tournament favourites being the top-ranked team from the last competition present in Rwanda.
Nigeria won bronze in South Africa in 2014, but champions Libya and runners-up Ghana both failed to qualify for Rwanda.
Expectedly, the players and technical crew have expressed their readiness to conquer Africa. “We understand the expectations of Nigerians we will try our very best to ensure we meet their expectations at the end of the championship”, declared attacking midfielder, Ikechukwu Ibenegbu.
By Olisemeka Obeche