• 17 other stars join team
Captain Ahmed Musa and 16 other players were being expected at the Super Eagles’ Eko Hotel & Suites abode yesterday evening, even as 11 early birds sweated out in gym sessions ahead of today’s first training of the group, with all countenancing the opening of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification race, reports thenff.com.
The three–time African champions tango with the Lone Star of Liberia at the Teslim Balogun Stadium from 5.00 p.m. on Friday in one of the Day 1 clashes, with the Eagles flying out of Lagos to the island of Mindelo to take on the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde in a Day 2 fixture on September 7.
Among the early arrivals were defender Kenneth Omeruo, South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, England–based quartet of Alex Iwobi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho. Also in early yesterday were former junior international Kingsley Michael, Abia Warriors’ Adekunle Adeleke, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, and forwards Henry Onyekuru and Chidera Ejuke.
Team Administrator Dayo Enebi Achor confirmed to thenff.com that 17 other players, including Musa, defenders William Ekong, Leon Balogun, Olaoluwa Aina, Abdullahi Shehu, Tyronne Ebuehi and Chidozie Awaziem, and forwards Samuel Kalu, Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon and Terem Moffi were being expected at the team’s abode by yesterday evening.
Only midfielder Joseph Ayodele-Aribo and forward Paul Onuachu are expected to come into town today. The team will have its first training session at the Teslim Balogun Stadium today.
Friday’s encounter will be the first FIFA World Cup qualifying game in Lagos since the Eagles defeated the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in a 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the adjacent National Stadium, Surulere in June 2000.
Meanwhile, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, has been appointed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to serve as the match commissioner for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying match between hosts Egypt and Angola taking place in Cairo on Wednesday.
CAF has already moved the game, earlier scheduled for Thursday forward by a day to tomorrow and the respected Nigerian administrator is already in the Egyptian capital to superintend proceedings of the Day 1 encounter.
Seven –time African champions Egypt will start as favourites against the Palancas Negras, who appear to have lost some of their bite in recent years and even failed to qualify for the 24-nation AFCON finals due in Cameroun early next year.
The encounter will hold at the 30 June Stadium and starts at 9.00 p.m. Egypt time.
Also appointed for the match are referees from Mali, with Boubou Traore to manage the centre, and his compatriots Modibo Samake, Baba Yomboliba and Mahamadou Keita to serve as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively.
Celestin Ntagungira from Rwanda will serve as the referee assessor.