27th April, 2011
Nigeriaâ€™s Flying Eagles have been guaranteed an improved winning bonus should they beat Mali and qualify for the final of the 2011 African Youth Championship in South Africa.
President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Aminu Maigari, tasked the team yesterday afternoon to reach the AYC final and get â€œan improved packageâ€.
â€œYou have made millions of Nigerians happy by qualifying for the World Cup and now you can make them even happier by reaching the final and going on to win the competition,â€ Maigari told the Flying Eagles at their Garden Court Hotel in Kempton Park, Johannesburg.
â€œThis match is as crucial as the match against Gambia, where you needed to win to guarantee your qualification to the World Cup.
â€œI will therefore meet with my officials and come out with an improved package for you.â€
Each player received $2,000 for beating Gambia 2-0 to reach the last four of the biennial tournament. It was double their regular match bonus and the players can get more dollars if they defeat Mali.
The NFF boss also reminded coach John Obuh and skipper Ramon Azeez of their promise to President Goodluck Jonathan that they will win the AYC for a sixth time.
â€œBesides the promise by your coach and skipper, you should also remember that Mali beat us in the quarter-final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup which we hosted in 1999,â€ Maigari added.
A high-powered federal government delegation will also fly into South Africa when the team qualify for the AYC final.
Skipper Azeez however assured the NFF boss and the entire country that the team are set to conquer Africa again.
Nigeria battle Mali in the first semi-final tomorrow in Soweto. The other semi-final is between Egypt and Cameroon.
The final is slated for Sunday, also at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.