By Amaechi Agbo
Super Eagles players and Nigeria Football Federation officials Wednesday departed Abuja for Singapore ahead of Sunday’s friendly clash with Brazil.
Administrative officials of the Senior Men National Team, Super Eagles, finally secured their entry visas into Singapore on Wednesday, for Sunday’s prestige friendly between Nigeria and Brazil in Singapore.
The officials duly departed Nigeria via the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport aboard Emirates Airline on Wednesday.
Twenty –three years and a couple of months after Nigeria spectacularly ejected Brazil from the Centennial Olympic Games men’s football tournament in Atlanta, Georgia at the semi-final stage.
Both countries clash in a much –anticipated encounter at the Singapore National Stadium in Kallang on Sunday. The game is the last and icing on the cake of a two-match schedule for the five-time world champions in Singapore, which begins with a clash with the Teranga Lions of Senegal – African vice champions – on Thursday.
Among those who received visas and will join the rest of the group (players and technical staff already on ground in Singapore) on Thursday are Dayo Enebi Achor (Team Administrator); Toyin Ibitoye (Media Officer); Dr. Ibrahim Gyaran (Team Doctor); Christopher Nnadozie (Physiotherapist) and; Chidi Ngoka (Equipment Manager).
Singaporean Jansen Foo has been appointed as referee for the prestige international friendly match. Foo will be assisted by compatriots Abdul Hannan (assistant referee 1), Ong Chai Lee (assistant referee 2) and G. Letchman (fourth official) at the game billed starting from 8pm Singapore time.
The match against the Samba Boys was thrown into doubt Tuesday with report claiming that the match could be called off if the officials and local players were not granted their visas.
The officials were reportedly scheduled to travel Tuesday but the delay in visa issuance led to the postponement for 24 hours.
English Premiership duo of Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi as well as Italian Serie A based defender, William Troost-Ekong are among the Super Eagles players who have arrived Singapore ahead of Sunday’s showdown.
The trio were mobbed by cheerful Singaporean fans on their arrival at the team’s Fairmont Hotel base, Singapore on Wednesday morning.
The Super Eagles will face five-time world champions, Brazil in a friendly encounter at the Singapore National Stadium, Kallang on Sunday.
Head coach of the team, Gernot Rohr on Tuesday travelled with Spain-based trio of Samuel Chukuweze, Ramon Azeez and Chidozie Awaziem to Singapore for the game.
Lille of France forward, Victor Osimhen and Club Brugge of Belgium striker, Emmanuel Dennis have also landed in Singapore for the game.
The team is expected to hold their first training session Wednesday evening ahead of the game.
Meanwhile, Nigeria and Arsenal legend Kanu Nwankwo has said the Super Eagles are under pressure to give a good performance when they meet Brazil for their much talked about match in Singapore on Sunday.
The five time World Champions and the three time African Champions will renew their rivalry at the Singapore National Stadium, Kallang, three days after the Selecao had trade tackles with Senegal.
Kanu who starred in Nigeria’s 4-3 famous victory over the Brazilians back in 1996, Atlanta Olympic football event opined that Nigerian football fans want to see the Gernot Rohr’s squad give the Brazilians a good run for their money.
“There is a lot of pressure because everybody loves football, they don’t want to hear that Nigeria went to a game and lost.”
“I don’t think people will really appreciate the boys if they lost in a friendly game, that’s how it is here. The boys have to take it on board and ensure that every game they play, they have to do well.”
The two time African footballer of the year also advised Rohr and his boys to take the game to the Brazilians and give a world cup final performance, because of the rivalry that exists between both sides.
“Playing against Brazil will show the level of football they are playing and where they are, and if they can beat Brazil, the confidence and belief of the boys will grow.”
“And for me, it’s always tough when Nigeria and Brazil play each other, whoever will represent us should know it’s not a friendly game,” he concluded.