Nigeria’s Eaglets envisions early ticket to round of 16 with Ecuador
With the euphoria of the 4-2 win against Hungary last Saturday night behind them, the players are looking to qualify for the competition’s Round of 16 when they play Ecuador this evening in Goiania.
Indeed, perseverance, persistence and determination characterized the Eaglets’ 4-2 win over Hungary, as they pushed and pushed until they got three goals in six minutes in the second half to turn the game on its head.
However, tonight’s top-of-the-table clash with Ecuador at the same Estadio Olimpico, starting at 9pm Nigeria time, promises to be explosive, with both teams aware that victory would mean an early slot in the championship’s Round of 16.
“We are very happy to have seen the congratulatory messages by President Muhammadu Buhari and our morale has been lifted even higher, and we will go into the match against Ecuador with greater determination to win,” team captain, Samson Tijani said last night while reflecting on Saturday’s opening match and what is expected of the team this evening.
Just like Nigeria did on the opening matchday, other African representatives also secured win in their respective matches following a resounding 4-1 defeat of USA on Sunday night by Senegal ensured perfect start from all the continental representatives.
Debutant, Angola beat New Zealand 2-1 before fellow debutants, Senegal added colour to Africa’s performance so far.
When Nigerian team step out again this evening, reports from Brazil indicate that the camp has been much energized by the words of love and encouragement by President Buhari who has been following the activities of the team so far.
The President on Sunday congratulated the boys for the 4-2 lashing of Hungary in their opening match on Saturday, which put them at the top of Group B on goals difference ahead of Ecuador, 2-1 winners over Australia.
In a statement released by presidential aide, Garba Shehu, President Buhari, under whose watch as Nigeria’s leader the Golden Eaglets won the first of their five world titles (as military Head of State in 1985) and their most recent one (as civilian President in 2015), expressed confidence in the ability of the Eaglets to win a sixth title in Brazil.
“It was a wonderful display that I am very proud of. You showed that there is nothing that cannot be achieved with determination and perseverance. I have followed your journey leading to your arrival in Brazil for the competition. I have equally noted your determination and confidence throughout your preparations.
“I have no doubt in my mind that you are determined to win the competition for an unparalleled sixth time.”