SPORTS minister John Enoh has insisted that the federal government is as interested as ‘thirsty’ Nigerians in how the Super Eagles fare in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The tournament will be held in Cote d’Ivoire from January 13 to February 11, with Nigeria and 23 other teams participating.
The Super Eagles have won the AFCON title three times but their last triumph was in 2013, and they were eliminated in the round of 16 the last time out in Cameroon in 2022.
Enoh, who succeeded Sunday Dare as sports minister months ago after being appointed by President Bola Tinubu, has warned the Super Eagles not to fail this time and promised the full support of Aso Rock.
“Our country is so passionate about football, such that amidst all other sports, football is about the only sport that has an entry in the nation’s national budget,” Enoh said while meeting with Nigeria Football Federation president Ibrahim Gusau and Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro in Abuja.
“That is how important football is because whatever happens to it, happens to us as a country.
“After 10 years, the country is thirsty to win the AFCON. It will matter a great deal to the Nigerian people, and the Government of President Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“It is important to not just leave the task to the NFF alone, but the Government is also interested in being able to tell the Nigerian people what is being done in that regard.”
The Super Eagles are drawn in Group A for the tournament and will battle Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and hosts Cote d’Ivoire for round of 16 tickets.
Since the 2013 success, the Super Eagles have struggled at AFCON, failing to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 editions and the only medal they have won since then was bronze in 2019 under Gernot Rohr.