By James Agberebi:
Nigeria Football Federation first Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi has expressed confidence that 2017 will be outstanding for Nigerian football, while backing the Super Eagles to excel at thebRussia 2018 World Cup, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Super Eagles will in 2017 be involved in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as well as the qualfiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and 2018 Championship for African Nations (CHAN).
In 2016, the Eagles failed to qualfiy for the 2017 AFCON, while the Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets were knocked out in the qualfiers for the 2017 U-20 and U-17 AFCONS respectively.
Akinwunmi says the NFF is ready to do everything possible to make sure all their goals are met this year.
"We are entering the new year with the spirit of optimism. I believe that this year will be a good one for us," Akinwunmi told Completesportsnigeria.com.
"We have a few plans for the New Year. We've been blessed that we have a coach who shares our views. We are also lucky that even though we won't be in Gabon for the Nations Cup, we have the coach there to check on our World Cup qualifying opponents which we believe will be a blessing for us.
"We have a number of assignments this year which we intend to undertake with vigour. We have the CHAN qualification. But the most important is the World Cup qualification. And the coach has said nobody should assume that they will go to the World Cup without the work being put in.
"By the team and the individuals who are called up into the team, what I have seen thus far, it's clear to me that everyone needs to work for his spot. And I think that's the way a team improves."
Akinwunmi also stated that with the present crop of players in the Super Eagles, the team has what it takes to go very far at the World Cup if they qualify.
"Going to the World Cup is a Nigerian project, it is not an NFF project and we all owe it to ourselves to get there," he added. "And it's not just getting there alone but also doing exploits, surpass whatever any other African team has done. And who says after getting to the end we can't win it?
"We certainly have the talents, it's just that now we need to focus a bit more and work as one. This is not a time for bickering, this is a World Cup qualification year and we need to do everything possible to get there."