By Albert Akota
The Original FIFA World Cup, which Nigeria’s Super Eagles and 31 other teams will be competing for at the 21st FIFA World Cup finals in Russia next summer, will arrive in Nigeria on Saturday, 3rd March 2018.
NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said yesterday that confirmation has come from world football –governing body, FIFA, that Nigeria is among the countries where the iconic trophy would be visiting before next year’s major showpiece.
“We have confirmation now. The World Cup trophy will be in Nigeria on 3rd March 2018,” Sanusi said.
Nigeria became the first African country to qualify for the 32 –team finals when beating Zambia 1-0 in Uyo on 7th October, plucking the lone slot from Africa’s so –called group of death with one match to spare, but will only know their group phase opponents after the Draw Ceremony at The Kremlin in Moscow on 1st December.
The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour is usually a chance to see the Original FIFA World Cup Trophy, and this time, fans from all over the world will have the opportunity of seeing the trophy and having their photo taken with the famous diadem from 9th September 2017 to 7th June 2018.
The 21st FIFA World Cup finals will be staged across 12 venues in 11 cities in the world’s largest nation between Thursday, 14th June and Sunday, 15th July 2018.
The venues are Ekaterinburg Arena (Ekaterinburg); Kaliningrad Stadium (Kaliningrad); Kazan Arena (Kazan); Luzhniki Stadium and Spartak Stadium (both in Moscow); Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (Nizhny Novgorod); Rostov Arena (Rostov-on-Don); Saint Petersburg Stadium (Saint Petersburg); Samara Arena (Samara); Mordovia Arena (Saransk); Fisht Stadium (Sochi) and; Volgograd Arena (Volgograd)
Meanwhile, NFF Secretariat headed by Dr. Mohammed Sanusi to quickly tidy up all arrangements regarding next week’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Algeria in Constantine.
Although Nigeria has already picked the only ticket from group B of the African qualifying series, following the defeat of Zambia in Uyo on 7th October, the country’s football –ruling organ says it is taking the match as a serious matter.
“The temptation is there to rest on oars because we have already qualified. But we would not do that. I am happy the technical crew led by the Technical Adviser has already made it known they would be fielding Nigeria’s best squad on the day.
“The Secretariat must quickly finalise all arrangements. The match in Constantine must be seen as a FIFA World Cup preparation match, just like the one against Argentina in Russia four days later. We will go with our best and give our best, to get in the FIFA World Cup mood,” NFF President Amaju Pinnick said.
World football –ruling body, FIFA has appointed Gabonese referee, Eric Arnaud Otogo Castane as the referee for the match in Constantine, to be assisted by Aboubacar Doumbouya (Guinea, assistant referee 1), Seydou Tiama (Burkina Faso, assistant referee 2) and Juste Ephrem Zio (Burkina Faso, fourth official).
Rene Daniel Louzaya from Congo will be referee assessor while Omer Kouame Dehoule from Cote d’Ivoire as match commissioner.
The match at the Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui will kick off at 8.30pm Algeria time.