Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi says that with the Africa Cup of Nations now over, preparation had begun for the Super Eagles’ qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Abdullahi disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Johannesburg, South Africa, moments after the Super Eagles defeated the Stallions of Burkina Faso 1-0, to lift the 2013 AFCON trophy.
The minister said that upon returning to Nigeria, he would ask the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to forward to him plans that would make the Eagles prosecute the World Cup campaign creditably.
The minister expressed his determination to build on the success the team had achieved at the Nations Cup. He said his ministry would collaborate with the NFF to formulate plans for the team’s adequate preparation for the World Cup.
According to him, the Super Eagles’ victory at the competition was the outcome of long preparations which would be similarly adopted in preparation for the World Cup.
Abdulllahi noted that the Eagles’ victory at the 2013 AFCON was an indication that with enough preparations, the team could go places. He commended all Nigerians, the NFF and the Supporters Club for their relentless support to the Eagles to achieve success.
“I believe that the support Nigerians and the supporters club members, led by its President-General, Dr Rafiu Oladipo, had given the Eagles would continue in all international competitions,” Abdullahi said.
He expressed gratitude to the players and the coaching crew, led by Stephen Keshi, stressing that the victory had made Nigeria to become the best football nation on the continent.
The Eagles scored the match clincher through Sunday Mba of Warri Wolves FC.
Emmanuel Emenike was awarded the golden boot of the competition, Mikel Obi was the Man of the Match, while Victor Moses received the fair play award of the tournament.
With the 2013 AFCON victory, Nigeria has now won the continental football trophy three times, first in 1980 as hosts and in 1994 in Tunisia, when Keshi was the Eagles’ captain.