Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi pledged to restore some happiness to the country in the wake of the terror attack in Damaturu which left 14 dead and at least 26 more injured.
Fans had congregated in the city centre, the capital of Yobe state, to watch Brazil’s draw with Mexico on Tuesday night. A suicide bomber steered a tricycle taxi into the crowds and detonated a bomb, according to witnesses.
Police suspect terrorist organisation Boko Haram as being responsible for the attack.
Keshi believes that a positive result against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday in Cuiaba might help ease the pain currently being felt across the nation.
“It’s a sad thing,” he said. “It is not a pleasant thing to see people dying for no reason. Most Nigerians were not happy after we had a tie with Iran. Then after the bomb-blast, it wasn’t pleasant at all. It’s very tough for Nigerians.
“Our hearts go out to them. We will try to do everything possible to try and put a smile on Nigerian faces.”
Nigeria drew their opening game in Group F against Iran in Curitiba on Monday and the level of performance was criticised by many back home. Keshi understands the frustrations of supporters and is looking to make amends against the Bosnians, who lost to Argentina on matchday one. A win for Nigeria at the Arena Pantanal would eliminate the debutants after only two matches.
“Nigeria is a different place. Nigerians want to win at all costs,” he said. “Whatever happened against Iran, they felt that wasn’t our ability. The performance of the team is the only problem they have.
“We were not satisfied with a draw. In the next game we have to do what we have to do to secure the three points. I have big respect for this Bosnia team.”
Several Nigeria players were below their best against Iran, including Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel, and Keshi has asked that he step up his displays.
“Jon Mikel Obi is one of our key players,” he said. “We demand that he produces and he gives us what we want.”