Tony John, Port-Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has advised the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to intensify preparations for the World Cup, as Nigerians would not accept failure at the Mundial.
Wike spoke yesterday during a courtesy visit by the President of the NFF at the Government House, Port Harcourt, saying exiting the World Cup at the group stage would be unacceptable to Nigerians.
He said: “If you fail to advance beyond the group stage, don’t bother to return. Find excuses to stay there in Russia. Nigerians expect the best from the Super Eagles. That is why the NFF must intensify preparations.”
Governor Wike urged the NFF to close ranks and work in unity for the development of football in the country.
“There must be disagreements; but these disagreements should be platforms for development. Disagreements should not destroy the place. It should make NFF stronger,” he said.
The governor disclosed the state government is using football as a source of empowerment for the youths.
He said: “Football is a unifying factor in the country, as it douses tension whenever the nation is engaged in international sporting events.”
Wike commended the NFF for the improvements in the country’s league, charging the federation to develop it to the level where teams can win on the strength of their capacity.
Earlier, Pinnick said the NFF was in the state to thank the governor for providing the foundation for the qualification of Super Eagles for the World Cup.
He said the journey to Russia 2018 started in Port Harcourt after the Super Eagles defeated Swaziland.
“The governor created the right environment that led to the qualification of Super Eagles for the World Cup. This journey started here in Port Harcourt. Today, Port Harcourt has become a destination of choice.”