It’s good to play for Eagles again—Obafemi
We are here to win, says Oliseh
Returnee striker, US-based Obafemi Akinwunmi Martins, says he feels so excited to play for his country national team once again.
The weapon of mass destruction, as Martins is fondly called, was in the Super Eagles’ squad that departed Abuja yesterday morning for today’s Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Swaziland.
Obagoal is staging a return to the team after announcing his international retirement on December 4, 2014 owing to lack of international games.
The 31-year-old, who last played in a World Cup qualifier under former Coach Stephen Keshi in 2013 has been in fine form for MLS side Seattle Sounders with 15 goals so far in the American topflight.
Having netted 18 times in 39 appearances for the country, Obafemi is looking forward to re-open his goal scoring account today in Lobamba.
The delegation led by NFF 1st Vice President, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi, traveled aboard a chartered ARIK Air Boeing 737-800 aircraft from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and landed at the Matsapha International Airport, Manzini at 4pm Swazi time (3pm Nigeria time), aftr six hours.
NFF President Amaju Pinnick, still travel –weary following a 25–hour shuttle from Chile where the Golden Eaglets retained the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Sunday, saw off the delegation that also included Chairman of NFF Technical and Development Committee, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu.
The delegation also included NFF Technical Committee member, Mutiu Adepoju, 24 players, Coach Sunday Oliseh, other technical and backroom staff, NFF Management officials Chris Andekin, Bola Oyeyode, Ademola Olajire and Tunde Aderibigbe, some football stakeholders, few media representatives and some members of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club.
At the Matsapha International Airport, the group was received by about three dozen excited Nigerians based in Swaziland, who cheered lustily and sang various songs as players and officials walked into awaiting buses. They were clad in T-Shirts specially made for the occasion.
“We really appreciate this show of love from fellow Nigerians, who have left their businesses in various areas of Swaziland to come and welcome the National Team of Nigeria,” said leader of delegation, Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi.
Also at the airport were NFF Executive Committee member, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau and Assistant Director (Technical), Rafiu Yusuf, who had gone ahead of the delegation to make arrangements for the team’s comfortable stay. Chief Executive Officer of the National Football Association of Swaziland, Frederick Mngomezulu, was also at the airport.
The Super Eagles had a feel of the Somhlolo National Stadium, venue of today’s match, as Coach Sunday Oliseh supervised a 45 –minute session under the floodlights.
Oliseh: “Our objective is clear. We are here to play well and win well. The NFF are doing their part well by ensuring comfortable traveling and accommodation arrangements. Now, we will go to the field tomorrow and give our very best for our country.
“I have confidence in this group. The players still need time and matches to bond together very well, but I love the hunger to achieve that I see in these boys.”
Today’s match will kick off at 7pm Swaziland time, which is 6pm in Nigeria.
The winner will go straight into the 20–team, mini-league phase beginning next year.
Obafemi has declared that he would make Nigerian soccer fans happy with his ‘usual business’ of scoring goals, if Coach Sunday Oliseh decides to give him chance to do so.
“People know me for goal scoring ability and that is what I have come to do for the Super Eagles. I will be happy to play if I am given a shirt,” Obafemi said.
The Super Eagles under Coach Oliseh has prosecuted four matches, losing 2-0 to Congo, beat Guinea 2-0, drew 1-1 with Tanzania and defeated the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon 3-0 in recent friendly game in Brussels, Belgium.