‘We were tensed watching Flying Eagles beat Argentina’
Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mohammed Sanusi, admitted that Flying Eagles’ 2-0 victory against host nation, Argentina, on Wednesday night at the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup was full of tension.
Against all expectations, the Nigerian team, led by coach Ladan Bosso, eliminated the South Americans, who were pre-match favourites, having won the FIFA U-20 World Cup more times than any other country.
But on Wednesday night, the Flying Eagles, who were finalists twice, at Saudi ’89 and Holland ‘2005, proved bookmakers wrong, scoring twice through Ibrahim Muhammad in the 61st minute and a header by Rilwanu Sarki deep into stoppage time. The victory saw the Flying Eagles through to the quarterfinals, where they will play either Korea Republic or Ecuador for a place in the semifinal.
Speaking with The Guardian, yesterday, from the team’s camp in Argentina, Sanusi said: “As usual, the beginning of the match was full of tension because the Argentines are not push over in football. And the fact that they were playing in front of their home fans made it more tensed for us. But things turned against them, and I must commend the Flying Eagles for the good job. Now, the players and the coaching crew are resting waiting for their next opponent (Korea Republic or Ecuador).
“We are happy with their performance so far in this competition, and we will continue to talk to them to give Nigeria more victories in this competition,” Sanusi stated.
The Flying Eagles began their campaign with a 2-1 win over debutant, Dominican Republic, and followed up with a 2-0 beating of Italy. They went down 0-2 to Brazil in their last Group D match.
All three countries from Group D, Brazil, Italy and Nigeria recorded victories in Wednesday’s knockout matches. The Guardian recalls that the Isa Ladan Bosso-led Flying Eagles gave a parting gift of ‘golden bronze’ to former President, Muhammadu Buhari, two months ago, following their 4-0 victory over the Junior Carthage Eagles of Tunisia at the African championship.