Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has advised the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to intensify preparations for the World Cup as Nigerians will not accept failure at the Mundial.
Wike stated during a Courtesy Visit by the President of the Nigeria Football Federation at the Government House Port Harcourt on Monday.
According to him, the exiting the World Cup at the group stage will be unacceptable to Nigerians.
“If you fail to advance beyond the group stage, don’t bother to return. Find excuses to stay there in Russia. Nigerians expect the best from the Super Eagles. That is why the NFF must intensify preparations,” Wike said.
He urged the management of the NFF to close ranks and work in unity for the development of football in the country.
“There must be disagreements, but these disagreements should be platforms for Development. Disagreements should not destroy the place. It should make NFF stronger,” he said.
The governor, who stated that the State Government is using football as a source of empowerment for the youths, added that football is a unifying factor in the country, as it douses tension whenever the nation is engaged in international sporting events.
Governor Wike commended the NFF for the notable improvements in the country’s league, charging the NFF to develop it to the level where teams can win on the strength of their capacity.
Meanwhile, the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, in a statement, noted that the NFF were in the State to thank Governor Wike for providing the foundation for the qualification of Super Eagles for the World Cup, saying that the journey to Russia 2018 started in Port Harcourt after the Super Eagles defeated Swaziland.
“The governor created the right environment that led to the qualification of Super Eagles for the World Cup. This journey started here in Port Harcourt. Today, Port Harcourt has become a destination of choice,” he said.
However, he formally invited Governor Wike to be part of the country’s delegation to the World Cup, saying that the country will benefit from the sporting experience of the Rivers State Governor.