The CHAN Eagles will today meet the Palancas Negras of Angola in one of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) African Nations Championship (CHAN) semifinal pairings slated for the Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier, Morocco.
Nigeria topped Group C with seven points to book a place in the semis, after playing goalless with Rwanda and then went ahead to record two straight victories, 1-0 win over the defending champion, Libya, and a 3-1 defeat of Equatorial Guinea.
Angola finished second behind Congo in Group C unbeaten after recording a 1-0 win over Cameroun and playing goalless both against Congo and Burkina Faso.
Meanwhile, in order to boost their morale, the Eagles were paid a courtesy visit by the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, along side the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, Chief Obinna Ogba and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick, member of the House of Representatives, Edward Gyang Pwajok, and NFF Technical Director, Bitrus Bewarang.
While appreciating the team, Dalung told the players to bring smiles to the nation by winning the cup.
“Our President is a sports loving President and he is following everything that is going on here. I can tell you honestly that he is waiting eagerly to receive you after this tournament must have ended and you have won the trophy.
“Always remember that you are carrying the hopes and aspirations of 180 million, football-passionate people. So be ready to fight for your country on the pitch and make your people happy.
“Don’t be distracted. Everything you need has been provided as the NFF president has said, so it is now left to you to show that desire and hunger to succeed,” he said.
In his remarks, Pinnick assured the team of prompt payment of their match bonuses, as the minister has made everything available.
“He (minister) has also ensured that we have your monies, that is bonuses, allowances for this competition from the first game to the final game on February 4. So, the ball is now in your court.
“As a federation, the NFF is very proud of you and what you have done so far. We believe in you. We know you can make history and win this tournament for Nigeria for the first time.
“Please stay focused, determined and disciplined. Give your 100 per cent and even more to make sure this trophy goes to Nigeria,” Pinnick said.
The Captain of the CHAN Eagles, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, then, promised on behalf of the team that the players are ready to do the nation proud with their slogan: “Operation Do Nigeria Proud.”