President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday in Addis Ababa urged the Super Eagles to ensure success in their quest to secure a 2014 FIFA World Cup ticket for Nigeria.
Jonathan gave the charge to the team when he visited the players and officials during their first training session at the Addis Ababa National Stadium.
The president, in Ethiopia to attend the 15th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government, promised that the Federal Government would give them the support they needed to feature at the World Cup finals scheduled for Brazil from June 12 to July 13 next year.
The Super Eagles had arrived in Addis Ababa on Saturday morning ahead of the match against hosts Ethiopia, primed for the all-important encounter, free of any injury worries.
The African champions are in Addis Ababa for the first leg tie of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final Elimination Round Fixture against the Walya Antelopes.
They face hosts Ethiopia on Sunday at 4 p.m. (2 p.m. Nigerian time) while the return leg game will hold at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar on Nov.
Jonathan, who was received by Aminu Maigari, the chairman of Nigeria Football Association (NFA), went into the pitch to meet the players who were already warming up for the training.
Responding on behalf of the Eagles, Maigari assured the President of the readiness of the team to defeat their Ethiopian counterparts.
He thanked Jonathan for the visit, saying it had not only boosted their morale, but had also motivated the players to win the match.
Meanwhile Eagles’ head coach Stephen Keshi has pleaded with the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) to water the Addis Ababa National Stadium pitch ahead of Sunday’s match against the Walya Antelopes.
Keshi made the plea on Saturday in Addis Ababa while reacting to the football pitch’s dry playing surface and patchy grass.
He said if the pitch was not watered, it could injure Super Eagles players and deny football fans the opportunity of watching good football.
“We are pleading for the pitch to be watered so as to save our players from injuries and for the fans to watch good football,’’ Keshi said.