The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has tasked the Nigeria Football Federation to adequately prepare the U20 boys, Flying Eagles, to challenge for the FIFA U20 World Cup trophy in Indonesia in a few weeks.
Dare threw the challenge to the NFF and Head Coach Ladan Bosso at a reception hosted for the Africa U20 Cup of Nations bronze medallists at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Monday.
He said: “You have returned from Egypt with the bronze medals and the FIFA World Cup ticket and a few other prizes, but the FIFA World Cup is in a few weeks and I want you to focus your mind on winning it for Nigeria for the first time.
“I understand Ghana is the only African country that has won the FIFA U20 World Cup.
“If Ghana can win it, why not Nigeria?
“I am happy about your performance in Egypt because you were able to come from a position of adversity – a depressing loss to The Gambia in the semi final – to fire on all cylinders to defeat Tunisia for the bronze medals.
“That is the spirit that the Government and people of Nigeria want you to take to the World Cup.
“We are on the same page with the NFF on adequate preparation of our National Teams for matches and competitions, and I believe they will provide you with good-enough preparation for the global finals in Indonesia.”
Head Coach Bosso praised the Minister for his fatherly love, encouragement and support for the team since hosting the team to a similar reception after it won the WAFU B U20 Championship in Niamey 10 months ago.
He said: “We are always encouraged by your inspiring and motivating words, and the length you go to simply to support the team and our dreams.
“I told you after the victory in Niamey that our target was doing well at the AFCON in order to earn a FIFA World Cup ticket.
“Now, just as I told the Nigeria Ambassador to Egypt in Cairo on Saturday, I want you to know that our fresh target is doing very well at the FIFA World Cup.”
All players and team officials were at the reception, bar Belgium-based Ahmed Abdullahi, who is back at his base in Europe.
Also at the reception were the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar; Director of Federations and Elite Athletes Department, Dr. Simon Ebhojiaye; Chairman of the IMC, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye; Chief of Staff to the Minister, Alhaji Abba Abdullahi Yola; NFF’s Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire; and NFF’s Head of International Competitions, Dayo Enebi Achor.
The Flying Eagles will go on a short break before reconvening for the phased preparations for the FIFA World Cup, taking place in Indonesia from May 20 to June 11, 2023.