Former Super Eagles assistant coach, Joe Erico says the success of the Super Eagles at the fast approaching 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt will depend on the seriousness of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Erico and late coach Shaibu Amodu and Stephen Keshi led the Super Eagles to the 2002 African Nations Cup in Mali, where the country lost to Senegal in the semifinal.
Some key players in the team, including skipper Sunday Oliseh were sent away from the team’s camp following row over unpaid wages, including match bonuses and refund of ticket allowances.
A second string team of the Super Eagles was able to pick a bronze medal, beating the host country, Mali 1-0 in their third place match.
The coaches were not sparred as the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA) abruptly terminated the appointment of the trio of Amodu, Keshi and Erico.
Speaking with The Guardian at the National Stadium in Lagos yesterday, Erico stated that the Super Eagles could only do well in Egypt 2019 Afcon if the NFF was ready to give the players and the coaches the support they deserve.
“Winning a Nations Cup trophy involves a lot of things,” Erico stated. “The NFF must be ready to show a high level of cooperation to the team. You don’t just sent your soldiers to a war front without adequate preparation. It happened to us at Mali 2002, and since then, things have not been the same with our football.
“As they are preparing the players for the Nations Cup, the NFF must also be ready to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that they are also ready in terms of cooperation with the team off the field of play.”
Meanwhile, a delegation of Egypt’s senior national team, Pharaohs, are expected to arrive in Nigeria on March 24 aboard a chartered aircraft for the international friendly with the Super Eagles, the NFF has revealed.
NFF officials and their Egyptian Football Association counterparts told thenff.com that the team would fly into the Asaba Airport direct from Niamey, Niger Republic – where they are due to play that country’s senior team on the final day of qualifying campaign for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Pharaohs, like the Super Eagles, have made sure of a place at the finals taking place June 21 to July 19 ahead of the final day of qualifiers, even before Egypt was handed the hosting right for the championship.
Seychelles’ Pirates are the Eagles’ opponents for the final day of the campaign on March 22, before both former AFCON winners clash at the Stephen Keshi Stadium four days later.