As Nigeria’s Super Eagles begin preparation for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, has warned officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) not to meddle in the affairs of the team’s technical adviser, Gernot Rohr.

He said the coach should be given free hands to do his job in the selection of players.

Dalung, who gave the warning while interacting with newsmen in Abuja, said it is only when the coach is given free hands to operate that Nigerians can hold him responsible for any misdeed or failure.

According to him, the technical director and his coaching crew should be given the complete free hand in the choice of players and the management of the team. Everyone should limit himself to his responsibility.

“What I mean is that, nobody should interfere in his choice players to invite, when and where he wants to play any particular player so that we can hold him, at the end of the day, accountable. But when you have interference, we will not be able to hold him accountable,’’ he said.

He said all arrangements for a successful outing for Nigeria at the Russia 2018 World Cup have already been perfected including the release of funds by the Federal government.

“Friendly matches have been lined up for the Super Eagles ahead of the World Cup.

“Preparations are in top gear, and we have reviewed our welfare packages and we plan to make prompt payments to ensure that players are motivated.

“The welfare of players is very key, because it will not only motivate them, but build in them confidence and trust. “We have also secured release of funds for the World Cup from the government. We even secured the release last year and government is committed to the team welfare and successful outing.”

According to Super Eagles’ programmes for the World Cup released recently, the team will play a friendly game with Poland in Warsaw on Friday, March 23, before travelling four days later, to face Serbia in another friendly game on Tuesday, March 27.

The first phase of camping ahead of the World Cup will be in Abuja or Uyo from Tuesday, May 22 and in between the first phase of camping, Nigerians will have the opportunity to watch their lovely team play DR Congo in another friendly game at the Abuja National Stadium May 28. The World Cup contingent will then head to London for the friendly game against England on Saturday, June 2. The same night, the NFF will hold a sponsor and partners event in London.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will continue another phase of camping, this time in Austria from Sunday, June 3 to Monday, June 11. Nigeria’s next friendly will be against the Czech Republic in Austria on Wednesday, June 6 before another warm-up game against a yet to be identified South American team on Tuesday, June 9.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will then head to their World Cup Base in Yessentuki Russia before they kick off their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign on Saturday, June 16 against Croatia on Wednesday, May 30.

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