FLYING EAGLES CAMP MEMOIRS
Today is a new day, a new hope caused by the Flying Eagles emphatic 5-0 demolition of debutants Guatemala in the opening Group D match the previous day.
The boys knew they had no excuse if they did not win very well. That was the message they got from a highly charged NFF technical committee chairman, Chris Green, just hours to kick-off.
'I want you to beat them well and put fear into the other teams. Winning 3-0 will not be news in Nigeria,' said Green, who along with NFF marketing chief, Idris Adama, joined in the team gospel chorus in the team bus on the way to Estadio Centenario.
'If I could roll back the years and be 20 again, I will play this tournament and win it for Nigeria.
'God will change your destiny and you will achieve what you set out to achieve and nothing you do here will go unnoticed.'
Talking about notice, the Flying Eagles can now catch the eye as the Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, as he was among the crowd that saw them outclass Guatemala.
He is already very much aware of the jet-heeled Ahmed Musa, who caused the other team all kinds of bother and even helped himself to a goal.
But central defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Gani Ogungbe could well have impressed him on the first day even though he would need another game against a team who will attack a lot more than Guatemala did on the night to really assess them.
Siasia will again be in the stands for the second game against Croatia on Wednesday night, which will be early morning Thursday Nigerian time, before he heads off to London for the Ghana friendly on August 9.
The Flying Eagles stayed back after the Guatemala game to watch the first half of the other group game between Croatia and Saudi Arabia. There would be no goals in the first half of a very cagey game.
'Both teams are very tactical and tried to retain possession. We also have to do same when we meet them,' chorused coaches Yakubu Maidajin and Sule Shuaibu.
But after the interval, the team watched on TV from their hotel as the Saudis put through two goals past the highly-rated Croats, who now have their backs to the wall.
The friendly and warm atmosphere at the Estadio Centenario was equally something to behold.
There were only two Nigerian fans in the 10,000-strong crowd, one was a young woman Stella who proudly took some pictures with her Nigerian brothers, while the other waved a big green-white-green flag from start to finish and was almost manhandled by the stadium stewards when he ran into the tracks to celebrate with the Flying Eagles the opening goal against Guatemala.
Guatemala, who are nearby to Colombia, were represented by no less than 2,000 fans all proudly wearing the country's white and sky-blue colours. They were upbeat, full of voice and warm before the big kick-off even taking snapshots after snapshots with some Nigerian team members in the stands.
But after the goals, they simply shut down.
There are a few knocks from the game - Omeruo, Ajagun, Ramon Azeez and Emmanuel Anyanwu - but the medical staff have assured everything is under control.
The other thing is that the holy month of Ramadan is upon us and the Muslim players in the team like Ajagun, Azeez and Sani Tahir will comply with the obligation of the faith to go without food and water for most of the day for 30 days.
Samm Audu is Flying Eagles Media Officer