Taiwo Ogunjobi: Nigeria are playing at home
Posted: 11 June 2010 Time: 9:39 am
NFF executive committee member Taiwo Ogunjobi says the large population of Nigerians in South Africa are making the team feel at home as they get set to begin their World Cup campaign.
"The players are feeling at home, with the large population of Nigerians here. When we played North Korea in the friendly match at Tembisa on Sunday, it was like we were playing at home. There were more people outside the Stadium than inside. It is encouraging as far as the players are concerned.
"Even South Africans are ready to support our team. It is an African World Cup. And I know so many people will still come from Nigeria to support the Super Eagles at this competition," Ogunjobi stated.
In the past, disciplinary issues have cost Nigeria at major tournaments, but Ogunjobi says the present group have gone past such pettiness.
"The players remain focussed and all they are thinking about is how to do the nation proud and elevate their own names. For this World Cup, I can tell you that the players have shown greater commitment and discipline, and there is more complement of personnel in the different departments of the technical team.
"I also want to say that this team stands a better chance of doing the nation proud. There is huge commitment on the part of the players and technical crew and the Federation has been giving good support. We also appreciate the efforts of the Honourable Minister/Chairman of the National Sports Commission. With all these, I have faith that the Super Eagles can surprise many people here."
Administratively, Ogunjobi says things have improved, "Things are much better in terms of financial and human resources. The present administration has more money now than we had then and there are more experienced and professional persons in the Federation.
"Certainly, a lot has changed. The Government is also more interested in the team's participation in this World Cup than was the case in 2002. Our Mr. President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (GCFR) is even coming to be part of the opening ceremony and to watch our match! What better morale –booster can you have?"
Nigeria are grouped along with Argentina, South Korea and Greece in Group B and open against the South American giants on Saturday at Ellis Park.