The three-time African champions were an ugly shadow of their excellent best against the Crocodiles on matchday one of the qualifying campaign for the next edition of the Mundial
Senator John Owan-Enoh, the Minister of Sports Development, has voiced his concern following the Super Eagles’ 1-1 draw against the Crocodiles of Lesotho in Thursday’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying match held at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.
In a statement released on Friday in Abuja, the minister, who witnessed the match along with other sports enthusiasts, expressed disappointment with the outcome, stating that it fell short of expectations.
Warning the Eagles against complacency, Senator Owan-Enoh emphasised the significance of Nigeria’s qualification for the 2026 World Cup, considering the team’s absence from the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
“The Government and football-loving people of Nigeria take the qualification for the 2026 World Cup very seriously and want the Super Eagles to qualify. Having missed out on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, qualifying for the 2026 World Cup is not negotiable,” he remarked.
Senator Owan-Enoh directed the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the technical crew to promptly address the identified shortcomings from the Thursday match in preparation for the upcoming clash against Zimbabwe on Sunday.
“I urge the Nigeria Football Federation to look into and correct all the lapses observed in Thursday’s match with the aim of putting in a much better performance in Rwanda on Sunday, Nov. 19, against Zimbabwe,” he stressed.
Concerns were also raised regarding broadcasting limitations that hindered some Nigerians from watching the national team in action.
The minister urged the NFF to register Nigeria’s dissatisfaction with the appropriate authorities, acknowledging that the qualifiers are FIFA-organized, and thus, television broadcasting rights fall within the purview of the world football governing body.
“It is not good enough that many Nigerians could not watch their national team play in their country. A repeat of the same should be avoided, and NFF will be expected to register Nigeria’s displeasure with the appropriate authority in FIFA,” he asserted.
Senator Owan-Enoh concluded his statement by calling on all Nigerians to support the team and encouraged them to demand sharper gameplay throughout the remaining qualifying series.