President of Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari has insisted that the Super Eagles must keep their discipline as they seek a place in the World Cup’s Round of 16 on Saturday against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Victory against the debutants will most likely guarantee a place in the knock –out rounds for the African champions, who are determined to bring to an end the unflattering record of the championship’s longest winless streak. But Maigari exhorts that even that must be done with great honour and with discipline.
“Football is an amazing game that plays a huge role in international relations, and we must at all times, be conscious of how far our attitude on the field will go in portraying our nation and the people we represent,” Maigari said in Campinas on Wednesday, while visiting the African champions.
Nigeria has not won at the FIFA World Cup since defeating Bulgaria by a lone goal on June 19, 1998 at the Parc des Prince, when Victor Ikpeba finished off a marvelous move by slotting into the net to send the Eagles into the Round of 16 in France, even before their clash with Paraguay.
A win over Bosnia-Herzegovina, the only European team in the group, will also send Nigeria into the knock –out rounds, and Maigari wants the players to bring out the famous Nigerian spirit as they contest the ball at the Arena Pantanal on Saturday.
“We are a never-say-die people, and we have done it several times in the past. Our people still talk about the Damman Miracle till this day, and we all saw how the Dream Team, led by Nwankwo Kanu, swept aside Brazil and Argentina to win Olympic gold, from position of disadvantage each time.
“Most recently, yourselves were involved in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, where many people thought we didn’t have a chance after drawing with Burkina Faso and Zambia in our first two matches, only to go all the way and win the Cup.
“I have fervent belief that you will conquer on Saturday and go even further in the competition, but we must all remember to honour our nation and the African continent in the way we behave on the field and off it.”
Maigari wants the usually unflappable Nigerians to maintain their integrity at the biggest stage.“We have a name to protect and that is to go out there and conduct ourselves with honour and win well, while behaving in a way that our people and our continent will be proud of.”