By Albert Akota
The President of Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari declared yesterday that the Super Eagles are well prepared to run over Iran and earn three points when both teams clash in the second match of Group F at the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals today.
Setting is the 42,000 –capacity Arena da Baixada in Curitiba – a venue originally built in the 1990s to replace the older Estadio Jaoquim Americo Guimaraes and which is the home ground of Atletico Paranaense FC.
It is the first time both countries are meeting at the FIFA World Cup finals.
“Our boys are ready for this task. I have been with the team all the way from London (friendly with Scotland) to their final camping in the USA and now here in Brazil.
“The spirit is good and I believe they will go all out on Monday,” said Maigari, who flew with the team to Curitiba on Saturday morning.
Also in town are members of the Federal Government delegation to the finals, led by the Senate President, Distinguished Senator David Mark, GCON.
Football –loving Mark also led the Government team to South Africa when the Super Eagles lifted the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa early last year.
“The presence of the Federal Government delegation, the kind words of the members of the delegation and the arrival of the NFF delegation have all boosted the morale of our team in a big way.
The boys know that the Government and people of Nigeria are with them and they know what they have to do to make Nigeria and Africa proud,” Maigari added.
Nigeria is the lowest –ranked team in Group F, but that will count for nothing when the African champions set sail at the Arena da Baixada.
Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, rated as one of the best stoppers in world football at the moment, defender and skipper Joseph Yobo and striker Osaze Odemwingie have all tasted FIFA World Cup action previously, while midfielder John Mikel Obi and strikers Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike all shone at the Africa Cup and are rated highly to dazzle here in South America.
Defenders Godfrey Oboabona, Efe Ambrose and Kenneth Omeruo, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi and pacy winger Ahmed Musa were also in the Africa –conquering team in South Africa and have tremendous quality and play with gusto.
An all –time record by the Aminu Maigari administration has seen the Super Eagles play a total of 26 friendly matches over the past four years, preparing them adequately for a potentially much –better outing at the FIFA World Cup to erase the unflattering memories of an under –par South Africa 2010 campaign.
The 11 –day final camping in the United States of America was spangled with two quality friendly matches against Greece and USA, and few would have forgotten that the Super Eagles were actually held to a 2-2 draw by four –time world champions Italy in a friendly in London late last year.
Shoal Ameobi, who like Moses played for England at junior levels before opting to represent fatherland at senior cadre, youthful Michael Babatunde, former junior internationals Ramon Azeez and Uche Nwofor and CHAN 2014 MVP Ejike Uzoenyi provide strength in depth for Coach Stephen Keshi for today’s clash.