By EricJames Ochigbo
The Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sports, Rep. Anayo Nnebe, says Super Eagles team at the World Cup in Russia is technically strong and will surprise the world.
In an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, Nnebe rated the Eagles’ preparation for the competition “very high’’ and expressed confidence in the team’s handlers.
“We look forward to the team coming back with good news; even if they do not come back with the trophy, they will come back with good and cheering news.
“I am optimistic; the team is capable of representing the country effectively and bringing glory to the country.
“I encourage them to dedicate themselves to the progress of the country through superlative performance.
“I am confident because the level of preparedness is high; we have the technical team, we have the coach and I am optimistic that the end will justify the means,” he said.
On legislative support for the team, the lawmaker said that the committee ensured that enough budgetary allocation was made for the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development.
He disclosed that the committee met with the Accountant-General of Federation and relevant stakeholders to address issues of non-release of funds for the ministry and the team.
Nnebe said that the intervention facilitated the release of funds and enabled the team’s early preparation for the tournament.
He called on critics of the team’s list to be patriotic and support them to succeed at the event.
“The problem in the country is that in football everybody is a professional. We have a competent management team handling team selection and player assessment.
“Let us not stay outside as laymen and be challenging decisions made by competent professionals,” he said.
Nigeria will play in group D with two-time World champions, Argentina, Iceland and Croatia in the opening round of the competition.
Nnebe commended ongoing negotiations to handover the National Stadium in Lagos to the Lagos State Government.
He explained that the idea behind the proposed handover was to ensure regular maintenance and to bring the stadium to international standards.
The legislator blamed the poor state of the stadium on limited funds and poor releases of budgetary allocation for its maintenance.
“If you go round this country, you will see that most of Federal Government-owned facilities are out of use.
“The then Presidential Hotel in Enugu and Ikenga Hotel in Awka and so on are some of them; so, if taking over the stadium by the Lagos Government would revitalise and resurrect it, so be it.
“The Lagos State Government is a part of Nigeria, let them take over instead of leaving it abandoned and dilapidated.
“The state government has shown performance and credibility, so let them take it over and bring it to a level of excellence,” he said. (NAN)