Reigning African Footballer of The Year, Yaya Toure, who captained the Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire has said he was shocked at the display of the Super Eagles made up of entirely Nigerian league players against his star studded teammates last Sunday night in Abu Dhabi.
Speaking to the media and later to Coach Dan Amokachi, Toure said at a
point he believed that his mates were deceived to believing that Nigeria was going to parade a wholly home based side but was convinced that it was not the case. Amokachi had to tell him that apart from Steve Ukoh, who plays in Switzerland and had his first cap for the Eagles all the other players are from the Nigerian Premier League.
Toure added, “At a point I had to tell my teammates to slow down the pace of the game and when we scored we could not wait for the final whistle, because the boys were all over us. They must be commended for their confident display” he declared.
All the way from Germany, Eagles defender Leon Balogun, has also said kudos to the Eagles for a good display against the Ivoriens. “My heart and soul has always been with the team and hopefully I will rejoin the team to recreate those beautiful moments that we had when I first played with them”, he said. Balogun presently plies his trade with German second division side, SV Darmstadt 98.
Also speaking on the match, NFF Technical Committee Chairman, Chief Felix Anyansi Agwu, General Secretary, Musa Amadu and HOD Technical Department, Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme commended the grit with which players of the Super Eagles approached the game after staying together for only nine days before the match.
Anyansi said it was a fantastic advertisement for the Nigerian league, noting that with more time together the team will go places and probably be champions of the forthcoming CHAN tournament. Amadu on his part, said he believed that despite observable lapses, the team was simply in a class of its own, especially against the backdrop of the fact that they were playing against a much more experienced side. Ikpeme on his part said “I am impressed, very impressed, the players must keep it up and improve on what we have seen today”.
Others who showered praises on the team are Executive Committee members of the NFF, Inua Rabiu Sheriff and Hussein Modibbo, who were both in Abu Dhabi to cheer the team.