Super Eagles have been handed a semi-final target at next year’s World Cup in Russia after the team became the first African side to seal a place in the global showpiece following a hard fought 1-0 win over the Chipolopolo of Zambia at the weekend.
Former secretary general of the NFF, Sani Toro said that having featured at the Mundial five times, it was high time the Super Eagles went a few steps forward by reaching the semi-final.
“First and foremost, one has to admit the fact it was a very tough game against Zambia”, Toro, a one-time House of Representative member and ex- commissioner of Sports in Bauchi State, told SCORENigeria
“But with God on our side, the Super Eagles were able to win and became the first African country to qualify for the World Cup next year in Russia.
“I must say a big congratulations to all Nigerians and in particular, the Super Eagles players, coaches and the NFF executive committee and their leadership.
“Football is a very complex game, but that notwithstanding, I think this is the right time for us to begin to make progression at the world stage beyond where we had reached in our last five participations.
“We have to prepare well, play as many grade A friendly matches as possible to put the team in right stead for the World Cup.
“NFF have to do this as quickly as possible by preparing a blueprint, which has to be presented to the executive committee and later the NFF congress from there straight to the sports ministry because government has to definitely take a look at the programme and ensure necessary support by way of funds.
“Aside this, the FA has to engage in aggressive drive for funds without leaving everything for the government to shoulder alone.
“It is not just about participation, we’ve grown beyond mere participation in the World Cup.
“We have gone beyond going to the World Cup to celebrate reaching the second round.
“What is important is for us to take a look at our previous performance in the World Cup, especially in the African context.
“By now Nigeria should be able to go beyond the highest level attained by any African country in the World Cup.
“That means, we should be talking about the Super Eagles getting as far as the semi-final at the World Cup starting with the 2018 edition in Russia.
“If cannot reach the semifinal, at least the quarterfinal should be our minimum target at the World Cup”.
By Sab Osuji in Uyo