In a statement on Monday by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President described the development as “cheery and soul-lifting.”
He said it was a sign of good things to come, urging the team not to rest on its oars till it eventually qualified for the global soccer fiesta.
“This is but the first step in a long journey.
“However, that step has been well taken.
“An away victory at this level, in which the stakes are quite high, is remarkable.
“The ultimate is to qualify for Russia 2018 and fly Nigeria’s flag alongside those of other giant soccer playing nations.
“I look forward to that and I urge the team and their handlers to always keep their eyes on the ball,” Buhari said.
Two first half goals by Arsenal striker Alex Iwobi and Manchester City striker, Kelechi Iheanacho helped Nigeria shock the Chipolopolo stars of Zambia in front of their home fans.
Zambian President, Edgar Lungu, was among the capacity crowd that watched the Super Eagles put up a spirited effort to survive Zambia’s second half onslaught and ensure that the attempted comeback ended in heartbreak.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles began their 2018 World Cup quest on October 9 with a 2- 1 victory over the Chipolopolo Stars of Zambia.
The win puts Nigeria top of Group B in the World Cup qualifiers with 3 points.
Arsenal striker Alex Iwobi opened the scoring sheet with a goal in the 33rd minute after volleying the ball into the goal post following a defensive lapse by the Zambians.
About ten minutes later, Manchester City striker, Kelechi Iheanacho extended Nigeria’s lead after scoring a spectacular goal.
The Chipolopolo Stars however made a spirited comeback in the 70th minute when Collins Mbesuma scored a goal for Zambia from close quarters after Nigerian defender; Kenneth Omeruo bungled a chance to clear the ball wide.
The match which started around 2:30pm at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola ended with a 2-1 goal tally in favour of Nigeria.
The stadium was filled to capacity as the home crowd came to cheer their national team.
Zambian President, Edgar Lungu, was also present as the special guest of honour.
The win puts Nigeria ahead in the group and for it to qualify for the 2018 Mundial in Russia, it must finish as the winner of group which contains Zambia, Algeria and Cameroon.
Zambian Coach, Honour Janza, had criticised his team for selfish play after they were beaten 2-1 by Tunisia at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Copper Bullets missed several excellent chances before they were undone by two late goals, to leave them bottom of Group B.
“Playing as a team in the last third is the most important thing,” Janza said,”We created more chances, could have scored maybe four goals, but because of selfish egos, it was difficult.”
Zambia won the 2012 AFCON when good teamwork was considered to be one of the basis of their victory.
Janza also accused the current team of “playing individual football”, adding: “In the last third, everybody wants to score, but it’s better to give the pass to somebody who is in a good position, because at the end of it it’s the whole team that benefits.”
Zambia skipper Rainford Kalaba, who was named man of the match, agreed with his coach, saying: “I think we need to change the mentality, because the mentality is not good “We were able to score, but we are not yet capable of defending the goal.”
Southampton striker, who scored Zambia’s goal but also missed several clear chances, went off injured and was transported from the stadium in an ambulance.
Janza said his injury “looked to be very serious”.
In their last preparation match ahead of their African Youth Championship (AYC) quest in Algeria, Nigeria’s U-20 Flying Eagles drew 2-2 yesterday with Club Africain in Tunis.
Billed to leave for Algeria after the game against Club Africain, the injection of Olanrewaju Kayode gave the squad the first goal after 34 minutes from inside the six-yard box after a fantastic play and Club Africain replied with an equaliser a minute later.
Aliyu Goyi a left back player almost put the Flying Eagles ahead again in the 52nd minute with his stunning move, but his low shot was close to target.
Club Africain however took the lead after Goyi’s narrow miss with a penalty kick which the Flying Eagles conceded after a foul inside the box.
The first team side of the Club Africain as opposed to Nigeria’s U-20 side bowed to pressure from the junior boys in the 70th minute after Kayode’s superb chance could not be knocked off by Afrcain’s goalkeeper as he rounded him up and claimed the goal for Flying Eagles.
Flying Eagles proved a better side but couldn’t go further by showing it on the score sheet as they were denied several scintillating chances.
The Flying Eagles will fly out to Algiers on Wednesday afternoon, while their opening Group B match will be on Sunday, March 17 against Mali.
Ahead of the African Youth Championship taking place this year, Nigeria’s U-20 head coach; John Obuh has decided not to hang his hopes on foreign based players, thereby leaving open chances of invitation for all players in his programme for the AYC which will be taking place in Algeria.
Coach Obuh further said that his reliance on some of the professional players was cut short due to experience because they would mess your programme up by not showing up when the game plan rests solely on them (professional players).
Obuh admitted that he had to take caution, talking of national call-up for Nigerian Players abroad as their availability can sometimes be shaky, the former Golden Eaglets coach to the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup said.
“I won’t depend on foreign-based players for my programme at this year’s AYC,”. “I won’t hand invitation to players who cannot guaranteed their availability for the championship. I will not want a repeat of Ahmed Musa’s saga where the player had to shuttle between his club’s engagement and playing for the country at the last AYC in South Africa,”.
“My plan is to invite professional players to my team especially those who can deny themselves and sponsor themselves to play for the country. These players must however guarantee their availability.
“I won’t like a situation where a player will be coming to the camp few days to the championship to pick shirt in my team. This cannot help the programme of a good coach. I prefer working with the home-based players for the AYC.”
Nigeria will be clashing with Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon in Group B of the AYC 2013.