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Published On: Tue, Jan 13th, 2015

Friendly tie: Eagles to play Yemen as Sudan withdraw

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Super Eagles World CupBy Albert Akota

Following the last minute withdrawal of the Sudanese national team from the international friendly against Nigeria, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has moved swiftly to ensure that the team plays a game on Saturday, January 17 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The team will now tackle the Yemini national side on the same date.

Sudan, which gave no reasons for its sudden withdrawal was scheduled to play Nigeria January 17 and Finland, January 22, both games were scheduled for Dubai. But Team Administrator, Dayo Enebi Achor, said in order not to distort the schedule of the national team for the New Year, Yemen was approached and accepted to play the Eagles and later Finland on the scheduled dates.

The Nigeria versus Yemen game will be played at the Sevens Stadium in the bubbling city of Dubai. Already, The Secretary General of the Yemen Football Federation, Dr Hamid Alshaibani, has sent a letter to the organizers a copy which was made available to the NFF accepting to test the might of his side against the reigning African Champions.

Already, the Super Eagles, who lost narrowly by 0-1 to Cote D’ Ivoire last Sunday have since arrived Dubai to prepare for the game against the Yemeni side.

The team arrived Dubai by road yesterday afternoon and are staying at the Time Grand Plaza Hotel.

Following the departure of Warri Wolves striker, Gbolahan Salami, to go and firm up details of his contract with a Serbian side, 19 players and their officials led by NFF Technical Committee Chairman, Chief Felix Anyansi Agwu and Dr Emmanuel Ikpeme, the NFF, Head Technical Department made the trip to Dubai. Assistant Coach, Dan ‘the Bull’ Amokachi, gave the players an off day yesterday but declared that rigorous training for the game against Yemen will resume tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Super Eagles players who made it to the United Arab Emirates for the double header friendly against Cote D’ Ivoire and Yemen, have been heaping praises on the leadership of the NFF for the forward looking approach to the national team.

The players said the mere fact that the team did not make it to the Equatorial Guinea 2015 Nations Cup was enough to demoralize the NFF, but the Executive Committee and the Secretariat of the body, still thought it wise to arrange a January outing for the team, almost the same time the Nations Cup will be starting.

Team Captain Chigozie Agbim and his deputy Azubuike Egwuekwe who spoke on behalf of the players said they are delighted with the trip and the first class facilities that the team have been exposed to in the course of the friendly games.

“We must say a big thank you to the NFF for this visionary move and all we can say is forgive the team for not qualifying and we vow that it will never happen again in our time”, Agbim declared.

Egwuekwe added: We know we are better than most of the teams that are going to the Nations Cup but we made mistakes along the line and we must thank Nigerians for forgiving us and also thank the NFF for being forward looking despite the mishap, we will reward them next time with another Nations Cup win”, he said.


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