Don’t panic with Malawi’s mind games, Nigeria FA tells home fans

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has told Nigerians not panic with Malawi’s mere propaganda and mind games ahead of the two country’s last group match of the 2014 World Cup qualifier on September 6, in Calabar.

NFF Vice President, Chief Mike Umeh has told Nigeria daily, Vanguard that the Super Eagles have never lost a match in Calabar and that there were no way the African champions can start with Malawi.

Umeh was reacting to revelations that Malawi national team coach, Tom Saintfiet had a meeting with former Flames coach Kinnah Phiri and other local coaches in Blantyre last week

He asked Nigerians not to panic following “the widely publicized plot by Malawian coaches to help their national football team, the Flames bring down the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the last group match.”

Malawi coach  Sainfiet having a briefing with FAM CEO  Suzgho Nyirenda
Malawi coach Sainfiet having a briefing with FAM CEO Suzgho Nyirenda

Umeh further described the meeting as “a mere propaganda,” adding that, “we have nothing to fear because we will be playing on our soil.”

He added, “What they are doing is mind games and we are up for it. Remember, we will be playing in Calabar. We have never lost a match in Calabar, so I don’t see how we will start with Malawi who held us to a draw with a late equalizer in their own home.”

Umeh dismissed as “untrue” insinuations that Saintfiet whose employment as technical director by the NFF was scuttled in the last minute was out for a vengeful mission against Nigeria.

“No. He cannot do that because he has to keep faith. Who says he cannot be employed tomorrow? Look at Keshi who is in charge of the Super Eagles today; he had been turned down before. So, Saintfiet cannot think that way. Even if he does, he is only a coach who will pass instructions. He won’t do the playing.”

Umeh therefore assured Nigerians that the Super Eagles will fly over the Flames because the Stephen Keshi-tutored team is superior to their Malawi counterparts.

“We are African champions and will ensure we get the right result,” Umeh is further quoted as saying.

Saintfiet and Football Association of Malawi (FAM) President Walter Nyamilandu could not be drawn to comment on this as their mobile phones could not be reached Thursday morning.

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