A member of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Chris Green said on Monday that the Super Eagles worked hard and deserved to be at the Russia 2018 World Cup.
Nigeria topped group B with 14 points to qualify for the World Cup. Other countries in the group, tagged the group of death are, Algeria, Cameroon, and Zambia.
Green, the chairman, Player’s Status of the Federation, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that comments made by Stuart Baxter, Coach of the South African national team about Nigeria were unfair.
Baxter, in a post-match reaction after losing 2-0 to Senegal, said that Nigeria and Senegal are not better than South Africa.
“ Maybe, I am being blue-eyed, but I don`t think Senegal or even Nigeria were much better than us,” Baxter said.
Green said that he sympathized with the South African coach for his inability to qualify the team for the World Cup.
“ First of all, I sympathize with Stuart Baxter for his inability to qualify South Africa to play in the World Cup. He tried very much for his team, but, it did not work out.
“ But as sportsmen, he cannot say that a team that qualified ahead of you, that you are better than that team,” he said.
According to Green, there is no reason to say that South Africa is better than Nigeria when Nigeria qualified ahead of them.
“ The World Cup is bigger than AFCON, CHAN, it is the biggest stage and so, you cannot rightly say that you are better than Nigeria, that is not right, and that is not sportsmanly.
“Much as one will want to respect the South African team, as one of the teams that are emerging in African football, it will not be right for anybody to say that his team is better than the other team,” he said.
Green stressed the need for coaches to show respect to one another adding that he did not expect a coach like Baxter to make such comments.
“ We should remember that Nigeria is the first in Africa to qualify for the World Cup,” he said.