The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, was the motivating factor behind the Super Eagles’ 1-0 victory over Libya on Friday at the ongoing Morocco 2018 African Nations Championship, Nigeria Football Federation 2nd vice president Shehu Dikko has stated.
Dikko told thenff.com that Dalung actually swung the game Nigeria’s way hours before the Group C kick-off, when he approved that the players be paid the full bonus for the drawn opening match against Rwanda, if they earned the maximum points against 2014 champions Libya.
“The minister should get the credit for the victory because his approval for the team to be paid full bonus for the Rwanda game if they defeated Libya meant the players went all out, knowing they would be getting two full bonuses with a win.
On Tuesday, the Eagles have the opportunity of going for a third full bonus when they take on debutants Equatorial Guinea at the Stade Adrar in Agadir, the same time Libya and Rwanda clash in what promises to be an explosive tie in Tangier. Kick-off is 8pm Nigerian time.
Nigeria, with four points, will be guaranteed a place in the last eight if they avoid defeat against Equatorial Guinea. Rwanda, also with four points and same one goal advantage as Nigeria, will hope to also avoid defeat against Libya, who have three points, to reach the quarter-finals.
If the Eagles finish top of the table, they would return to Tangier to tackle the second-placed team in Group D on January 28 with the possibility of a semi-final ticket in Marrakech three days later.
Should they finish second in the pool, they would be up against the top-placed team in Group D in Agadir with the possibility of a semi-final clash at Casablanca’s Stade Mohamed V three days later.
The final match of the championship is scheduled for the Stade Mohamed V on February 4.