Uyo (Nigeria), May 23 (IANS) The international friendly match between Atletico Madrid and Nigeria here will prepare the country to excel at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia next month, officials said here on Wednesday.
The Nigerians lost 2-3 to the 2018 Europa League Cup winners on Tuesday, reported Xinhua news agency.
Solomon Dalung, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, expressed optimism that with the required fan base and adequate preparation of the players, Nigeria would perform beyond expectations at the World Cup in Russia.
Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), agreed, expressing confidence in the future of the Super Eagles despite the team’s defeat to Atletico Madrid.
‘The result is not what mattered, what mattered was that we have been able to show the world that we have a solid youth team that is capable of taking over from the present squad going to the World Cup next month.
‘I am very happy because our big mission statement on assuming office was to build a sustainable football culture for Nigeria. From what we have seen, our future at the senior national team level is secured,’ he said.
‘We are confident that…the team will do Nigeria proud in Russia,’ the FA boss told reporters.
Nigeria put out a collection of home and Europe based players, most of whom had played for the junior national teams.