President George Weah of Liberia yesterday declared that Nigeria’s Super Eagles were not only going to Russia to represent Nigeria but the entire continent of Africa.
The Liberian President, who spoke in an interview with the State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, also warned those in-charge of the Sports Ministry to refrain from tampering with monies meant for the welfare of players during tournaments.
He expressed dismay over the attitude of African leaders, who always complain when it comes to investing in sports, and thanked President Buhari for the qualification of Super Eagles to the World Cup.
He said he was amazed when he met the President of France, Emmanuel Macron who spoke passionately on his sports agenda and how he plans to build capacity through sports.
“I have been fighting for so long for my national team to qualify. Imagine, in the world best here in Africa, the only world best. And I said to President Macron, that FIFA built one stadium in Liberia and we have one Balloon d’Or, so if you build 10 stadia in Liberia, you will have 10 ballon d’Ors.
“I think Nigerian team is a model, we all followed them. I have played with great Nigerian players… I played against them. Now you have a new generation, the fact that they qualified is a good thing for Nigeria.
But I hope that they will prepare very early because they are going to represent Africa and we will be there to watch them, for them to bring the trophy for the first time if it is possible.”
He added that the event is not in going to the World Cup, adding, “I want every African government to know that if you win the World Cup it is a pride to Africa, it is not just to Nigeria, so we must do everything to ensure that the players are not stressed. We must make sure they concentrate, make sure their incentives are given to them to motivate them.
“Some of the things you see at the World Cup, you will see an entire team go to represent a whole country and you will hear that one minister took the money… they did not pay these players and the players are causing problem. When players are going to camp, it is to relax and focus. And for them to be in camp they must have everything there for them not to worry.”
Weah used his experience in Europe as a player to further buttress his point.
“When we go to camp, we have nothing to do. The only thing we have to do is to take a shower and prepare for the game, everything is laid down there and so you have no excuse.