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Published On: Thu, Dec 17th, 2020

2022 World Cup qualifiers: Super Eagles to play Cape Verde in Abuja

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As the race for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway in May next year, football followers and stakeholders in the Federal Capital Territory and its precinct could watch the Super Eagles of Nigeria play their matches again in the Centre of Unity.
The Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers will kick-off in May 2021 and end in October 2021and sources at the ministry of youth and sports have hinted that the era of moving the Super Eagles matches from one state to another each time they are hosting matches will be over when the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja is renovated next year.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria will host Cape Verde in second round of the World Cup qualifier in Group C expectedly at the newly refurbished Moshood Abiola Stadium in the Capital city of Abuja.
This development was made known by an anonymous source in the Ministry of Youths and Sports development on Sunday.
The Eagles last played a home game at the stadium in 2012 and the stadium fell into disrepair as it was abandoned.
Since then, the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, and the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba, Delta State have hosted the Eagles’ home games, but their most recent home match was played at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Edo State, which ended in a 4-4 stalemate against Sierra Leone in a 2021 AFCON qualifier.
“The Eagles have been on a tour of the country, no thanks to the unplayable pitch of the Moshood Abiola Stadium,” a source was quoted.
“The Abuja stadium will be completed by April 2021 according to the schedule of the contractors and before then FIFA would have been here for inspection to certify the stadium fit to host the World Cup qualifiers.
The stadium was built to host the 8th All African Games in 2003 and by then was the biggest jewel in Nigeria’s sporting infrastructure.
Speaking further on the development, the anonymous source said, “The sports minister (Sunday Dare) is committed to securing a home ground for the Eagles, who have become homeless for years due to the poor state of the stadium.”
Eagles coach Gernot Rohr had made a passionate plea to the sports minister, Sunday Dare, to bring the Eagles back to Abuja for their home matches.
“The Abuja stadium will be very good for the team if it is in very good condition. I will like the team to play there always,” Rohr said two years ago.
The Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers kick off in May 2021 and end in October 2021.
The Eagles have been drawn against Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia in Group C.
Last year the sports minister hinted that the stadium will be ready to host events in the nearest future hosing matches involving the Super Eagles.
Dare made the declaration during his inspection tour of the facility and promised to renovate the stadium’s pitch and other facilities to enable it host Super Eagles’ and other international matches.
“I think what I have seen here is impressive. This facility is first class and Nigerians should be proud of it. What we intend to do is to bring it up to a 100 percent usage and capacity. There have been funding challenges, and I have just been sworn in as minister. I have been briefed, and we are going to be innovative in trying to see how we can get extra funding.
He then handed the stadium and others in need of renovation up for adoption. The stadium fell into the responsibilities of Billionaire, Aliko Dangote who put up over $1million to get it back into shape.
Similarly, Philanthropist, Chief Keshington Adebutu has also agreed to invest N500 million to fix the football pitch and tartan tracks of the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
We all hope that the stadium will be put to good use and will bring the Super Eagles the much-needed luck in view of their recent winless run.

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