Qualifying for 2026 World Cup a must, Sports Minister tells Super Eagles, NFF

Sports Minister, Senator John Owan Enoh has expressed his disappointment over the Super Eagles 1-1 home draw in Uyo with the crocodiles of Lesotho in a 2026 World Cup qualifier.

The minister made known his concerns in a statement he personally signed and obtained by Blueprint on Friday in Abuja.

Owan-Enoh, who had joined other sports-loving Nigerians to watch the match at the stadium, said the result was below expectations of Nigerians.

“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 said.

The minister charged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the technical crew to urgently address the observed lapses from the Thursday match ahead of the Zimbabwe match on Sunday.

He also charged the Super Eagles to be more incisive ahead of the encounter against Zimbabwe and other matches.

“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.

“…I charge the Super Eagles to be more incisive for the rest of the qualifying series,” he said.

Speaking on the broadcasting challenges that prevented Nigerians from watching the national team on TV, Owen-Enoh assured that the NFF will register Nigeria’s dissatisfaction with the appropriate authorities.

“We understand that the qualifiers are FIFA-organised, and so the television broadcasting rights are 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 same should be avoided, and NFF will be expected to register Nigeria’s displeasure with the appropriate authority in FIFA,” he said.

The minister called on all Nigerians to support the team while urging them to exhibit sharper gameplay throughout the remaining qualifying series.

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