Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Barrister Chris Green has declared that the senior national team, the Super Eagles have respect for the Cameroon’ s Indomitable Lions, but this does not count as being afraid of the team.
Green assured that all arrangements and preparation for next month’s crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Cameroon will be accorded high level of seriousness.
“Everyone involved in one arrangement or the other with regards to the matches, including the technical crew, are working in tandem. We are approaching these matches with the seriousness it deserves.
“The Cameroonians are the reigning champions of Africa; we respect them for that but that is where it ends. We have no reason to fear them. A few years ago, we were also the champions of Africa. We are in one accord with the players and the technical bench to achieve victory in both matches.”
Green admitted on Tuesday that last month’s acute leukaemia diagnosis and on –going treatment of first choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme slightly jolted the Nigeria camp, but reiterated that the technical crew is on the right curve to have a capable and confident first choice and deputy on show for the two matches.
“When Ikeme’s matter came up, we quickly moved to put heads together to salvage the situation. We will give him all the support to go through the treatment and come back strongly, but in the meantime, we have to come up with a couple of guys who can always rise to the occasion.
“That is why we have a new goalkeeper trainer to work with our own man, Alloy Agu, to see how to make world –class safe hands out of the goalkeepers in camp now in Kano for the African Nations Championship qualifying matches against Benin Republic.”
Meanwhile, players released by Coach Salisu Yusuf to play Matchday 32 games for their Nigeria Professional Football League clubs have returned to the camp in Kano, ahead of next week’s trip to Cotonou.
Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr has arrived the camp with 62 –year old Italian, Enrico Pionetti who will work with Alloy Agu to build the confidence of the goal –tenders.
World football –ruling body, FIFA, has released appointments of officials for the Matchdays 3 and 4 of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying race (Africa series), with Egyptian top official Ghead Grisha and respected Gambian Papa Gassama to take charge of the two potentially –explosive encounters between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Grisha, full name Ghead Zaghloul Ibrahim Selim Grisha, has been designated to be at the centre for the big clash between the reigning African champions and the three –time African champions in Uyo on Friday, 1st September 2017, to be assisted by Redouane Achik (Moroccan, Assistant Referee 1), Waleed Ahmed Ali (Sudanese, Assistant Referee 2) and Mahmoud Zakaria Mohamed (Egyptian, Fourth Official).
Former FIFA referee Felix Onias Tangawarima from Zimbabwe has been assigned as Referee Assessor, with Congolese Jean Médard Kossa as Match Commissioner. The match will start at 5pm Nigeria time at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium.
For the return leg scheduled for the Stade Omnisports, Yaounde on Monday, 4th September 2017, Papa Bakary Gassama will be at the centre, to be assisted by Jean Claude Birumushahu (Burundian, Assistant Referee 1), Aden Marwa Range (Kenyan, Assistant Referee 2) and Maudo Jallo (Gambian, Fourth Official).
Jerome Kelvyn Damon, a former FIFA referee from South Africa, will be Referee Assessor, while Sudanese Osama Ataaelmanan Hassan will be Match Commissioner. The match starts at 6pm Cameroon time.
Grisha, 41, and who has been an international referee since 2008, also took charge of Nigeria’s Matchday 1 encounter against Zambia in Ndola, which the Super Eagles won 2-1. Gassama, 38, was at the centre when the Super Eagles thrashed the Fennecs of Algeria 3-1 in Uyo on Matchday 2.
In other appointments, FIFA has named Nigerian top arbiter Ferdinand Anietie Udoh to take charge of the Matchday 4 clash between South Africa and Cape Verde, taking place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Tuesday, 5th September.
Udoh will be assisted by compatriot Abel Baba (Assistant Referee 1), Soulaimane Amaldine (Comoros, Assistant Referee 2) and Ali Mohamed Adelaid (Comoros, Fourth Official).
On the same day, Mr. Linus Mba, a former FIFA referee will serve as Referee Assessor for the Matchday 4 clash between Congo’s Red Devils and the Black Stars of Ghana in Brazzaville. Morocco’s Rédouane Jiyed will be the referee.