The long wait in apprehension for officials and backroom staff of the Super Eagles eventually came to an end early Wednesday, as they ended up acquiring their much desired entry visas to Singapore and quickly headed to the airport to board their flight to the tiny Asian island nation, megasportsarena.com learnt.
The Eagles’ administrative officials departed Nigeria via Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, aboard Emirates Airline in the afternoon on Wednesday, in order to meet up with the scheduled commencement of camping same day by the players and technical crew, ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Brazil.
Among those who received visas and traveled to join the players and technical staff already on ground in Singapore are team administrator, Dayo Enebi Achor; media officer, Toyin Ibitoye, the physician, Dr. Ibrahim Gyaran; physiotherapist, Christopher Nnadozie and equipment manager, Chidi Ngoka, who were all beaming with smiles as they tropped out of the issuing office in Abuja.
The staff and officials will at the end of their scheduled 16 hour flight join the array of invited players who started arriving at the team’s hotel in Singapore’s capital early Wednesday, while the head coach, Gernot Rohr landed on Tuesday.
The early arrival of the players and coach paved way for the immediate commencement of full training a day ahead of schedule, as the Eagles plan to settle down well enough in order to put up a brilliant show against The Samba Boys at Singapore National Stadium in Kallang.
The game on Sunday will come 23 years after Nigeria’s under-23 spectacularly ejected Brazil from the 1996 Olympic Games men’s football tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, USA during the semi-finals stage, but 16 years after the senior squad lost in their first and only full international game against Le Selecao, with a 3-0 setback at home during the opening of Abuja National Stadium.
A Singaporean referee, Jansen Foo has already been appointed to handle the match as the first official, to be aided by compatriots Abdul Hannan (assistant referee 1), Ong Chai Lee (assistant referee 2) and G. Letchman (fourth official) at the game billed to start at 1pm Nigeria time.
A total of 22 players are expected to be in the Eagles’ camp by Thursday, among which are three goalkeepers, Francis Odinaka Uzoho (Omonia Nicosia of Cyprus), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland of Owerri) and Emil Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf of Germany)
Also expected are six defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (CD Leganes, Spain); William Ekong (Udinese, Italy); Tyronne Ebuehi (Benfica, Portugal); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn, Germany); and Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England).
Six midfielders are also onn the roster, namely: Alexander Iwobi (Everton, England); Anderson Esiti (PAOK Salonica, Greece); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City, England); Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); and Ramon Azeez (Granada, Spain)
Completing the squad are seven forwards in Victor Osimhen (Lille Metropole, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal, Spain); Efosa Viv Solomon-Otabor (CSKA Sofia, Bulgaria); Paul Onuachu (Racing Genk, Belgium); Emmanuel Dennis (Club Brugge, Belgium); and Peter Olayinka (Slavia Prague, Czech Republic).