EGUMA ASSURES ON OLYMPIC TICKET, SAYS…
With the Super Falcons crashing out of the women's football event of next year's Olympics holding in London, attention and in deed, all hopes have shifted to the national Under-23 team to salvage what is left of Nigeria's pride in the game of football.
And the Assistant Coach of the team, popularly known as the Dream Team V, Stanley Eguma, has admitted that the technical crew and players are under pressure to ensure that Nigeria's flag flies at the London 2012 Games.
The Dolphins of Port Harcourt gaffer, who expressed grave concern over the catalogue of woes that has lately befallen Nigerian teams, revealed that the technical crew of the nation's Olympic team is 'working above its capacity' to ensure that the team does not go the way of the Super Eagles and the Super Falcons that have failed to qualify for the Nations Cup and the 2012 Olympics respectively.
'It's very unfortunate that this year has not been a good one for Nigeria as far as football is concerned. We all are concerned about it. And we, in the Dream Team, are aware of the fact that we are the only option left to salvage what is left of Nigerian football and to bring smiles back on the faces of Nigerian football lovers,' Eguma began in an interview with Saturday Sunsports in Ijebu Ode last weekend.
Nigeria is drawn alongside Senegal, Algeria and host, Morocco in Group A, in an 8-Nations tournament that would see the best three teams pick automatic tickets to represent Africa at next year's Olympics, while the fourth team would go for a play off in Asia to further seek qualification for the London 2012 Games.
The Heartland FC of Owerri former tactician expressed optimism that the Dream Team V would take its good run in the London 2012 qualifiers in the 8-Nations tournament in Morocco.
'We're working above our capacity to ensure that what happened to the other (national) teams do not happen to the Dream Team. You would recall that we started this competition on a very good note. And we hope to end it on a very good note too by qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics,' he enthused.
'We expect the best of cooperation from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and I think it knows that the Dream Team is the only option left for Nigerian football. I can assure you that the football house is doing a lot to ensure that we do not fail.
'Let me repeat that we are working round the clock to ensure that Nigeria qualifies for the London 2012 Olympics. We may be under a bit of pressure, but we're used to it. We have no option than to qualify for the Olympics. Anything short of that is not acceptable to Nigerians. So, we're condemned to deliver.'
Eguma further disclosed that the players, particularly, those plying their trades abroad, are as equally committed to the London 2012 ticket project as the technical crew.
'We've been getting calls from the players abroad. They're concerned. As I speak to you, my Chief Coach, Austin Eguavoen, is in Europe contacting their club officials to make sure the players are released for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Morocco.
'The players in question are good and they play regularly in their respective clubs. We expect they will come and lift the team to make Nigerians happy.