Gangtok, Oct 29 (UNI) An all Nigerian football team under the banner of Nigerian Eagles arrived yesterday at Gangtok to participate in the 29th All India Governor's Gold Cup for the second time in a row.
Last time, they had lost to Army XI in the semifinals.
This time in the words of coach Fuja Tope, ''We are here to win the title.'' However, Tope stressed that more than winning the Cup, the Nigerian team wants to play entertaining football to dispel the stereotyped image of Nigerians as 'conmen' and 'drug peddlers'.
''There is so much talk of Nigerians being bad. This (Gold Cup) is a platform to show that we can play good football and entertain people and assert that all Nigerians are not bad,'' Tope told UNI.
According to Tope, playing entertaining football in front of the locals will help to offset the bad publicity generated by some 'bad' Nigerians. ''Every country has some bad people,'' he added.
Tope, who coaches a club in Nepal, has roped in nineteen Nigerian players for this tournament. The players have been playing club football in Kolkatta, Delhi and Kerala, he said. Eze Collins, who now plays for Calcutta Port Trust, is likely to join the team later.
The Nigerian Eagles, a major crowd puller in the tournament, faces Sikkim Police in the pre-quarter-finals tomorrow.
Although, the Nigerians had convincingly defeated Sikkim Police 4-0 last year, Tope said the police team has improved a lot compared to the last time.
He also sounded a warning to other teams in the competition by stating that the present Nigerian team is a better one.