Mr Ademola Olajire, the Director of Media and Communications, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has described 2017 as the most defining year for the nation’s Football House following the expectations and successes recorded.
Olajire made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, while reflecting on the activities of the football house for 2017.
He said that the past year was one of the toughest tests for the football house in its resolution to move football to the next level.
Olajire said 2017 was a fruitful and eventful year with many landmark achievements recorded, adding that 2018 would be better.
“It has been a defining year for NFF, because of the high expectations; this is so because many people expected us to falter during the World Cup qualifications.
“It is true that we were placed in the group many referred to as “Group of Death, but we survived taking the sole ticket with a match to spare, that is a notable achievement.
“It is instructive to know that the Super Eagles qualified for the double header, The CHAN 2018 and the 2018 World Cup in Russia. These are some of the positives for the year 2107.
“In the political arena, the President of NFF was voted into the CAF Executive Committee, and was also made member of the CAF Emergency Committee and Organising Committee of FIFA,’’ he said.
Olajire said the football house would build on the successes recorded in 2017 to do better in 2018, adding that it would ensure a decent outing for the Eagles at the World Cup.
“We need to build on the successes of 2017 to achieve better this year, because other countries are also watching us; so we need to be at our best and keep working hard.
“All the departments of NFF are working; from the boardroom to the administrative staff, we want to achieve success even as the Eagles are preparing for the World Cup.
“The NFF is on top of the Eagles preparations and also the CHAN Eagles that participated in the Super Six tournament. That is the first phase of their preparation.
“The second phase of the preparation for the CHAN Eagles is already going on in Abuja where training is intensified, work is ongoing before they will depart for Morocco,’’ he said.
Olajire said that NFF had lined up top graded friendlies for the Super Eagles as part of the preparations toward the quadrennial games in Russia.
“Before the World Cup, Eagles are expected to play a couple of “Grade A friendly matches, and also there is now an agreement signed on the players’ welfare and bonuses.
“We have also planned for about four to five matches for the Eagles; one will be on March 23, 2018, in Poland, another is 27 of the same month.
“We also planned May 28, friendly in Nigeria and another one for June 22 in Europe, while we work on their final preparations.
“Our female football team will not be left out of the preparations as there are plans to make them surpass the earlier stage which they have achieved. 2018 will also be a busy year,’’ he said.