October 10, 2014 – African champions Nigeria is determined to wrestle three points off the Falcons of Jediane (as the Senior National Team of Sudan is known) when both teams clash at the 35,000 –capacity Khartoum Stadium on Saturday night.
With only one point from their previous two games in the campaign, the Super Eagles know only an outright win will keep them firmly in the series and with an opportunity to defend the title they won in South Africa 20 months ago. And Leader of Delegation to the big match, NFF 1st Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi has stated categorically that outright victory is non –negotiable.
“We are here for serious business. I am happy at the attitude of the Coaches and the players and the spirit in camp. Victory will be ours on Saturday.” The spirit is high in camp as the new faces called up by Coach Stephen Keshi for the quick –fire sessions against Sudan have been proving their mettle, making for good competition in the camp.
The Nigeria delegation of 66 persons, including 24 players and officials, 20 members of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club and few NFF Secretariat Staff and couple of journalists, flew out of Abuja aboard a chartered Air Sudan aircraft at midnight on Thursday, and landed in Khartoum four hours later. The contingent was received at the airport by Mr. Habu Gwani Ibrahim, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Nigeria in Sudan, who stood in for the Ambassador who was outside the country.
There were also Mr. Friday Akpan, Head of Chancery and the Public Relations Manager of the Sudanese Football Association, Issam Gumaa, as well as over 200 Nigerian students in Sudan who chanted names of the players and welcomed them to the country.
Led by goalkeeper and skipper Vincent Enyeama, the playing body that also includes goalkeepers Austin Ejide and Chigozie Agbim, defenders Elderson Echiejile, Juwon Oshaniwa, Efe Ambrose, Godfrey Oboabona, Azubuike Egwuekwe and Kenneth Omeruo, midfielders Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Nosa Igiebor, Omatsone Aluko, Hope Akpan, Raheem Lawal and Ugonna Anyora, and strikers Ahmed Musa, Emmanuel Emenike, Gbolahan Salami, Osaguona Ighodaro, Emem Eduok, Aaron Samuel, Sunday Emmanuel and Michael Babatunde, was scheduled to train at the Khartoum Stadium by 8pm on Friday.
The team’s Grand Holiday Villa Hotel, situated on the bank of the Blue Nile, is only five minutes’ drive from the stadium.
At the match coordination meeting on Friday afternoon, it was decided that the Super Eagles will dorn all –white jersey with green stripes while the Falcons will wear all –red with white stripes.
Officials at the Embassy of Nigeria have informed the Nigeria Football Federation that they expect over 4,000 Nigerian students who are based in Khartoum to turn up for the big game on Saturday night.
Although temperature has soared above 40 degrees, Sudan FA Public Relations Manager Issam Gumaa has assured that it will be much cooler at night when the match will take place.
The match commissioner is Mike Letti from Uganda, while the Referee is Janny Sikazwe from Zambia. 1st Assistant Referee is Jerson Emiliano Dos Santos from Angola while Zambian Bruno Tembo is 2nd Assistant and another Zambian, Stanley Hachiwa is Reserve Referee.
Sudan’s Senior National Team have not beaten their Nigerian counterpart since 1967, when they edged a 1968 Olympic Games qualifier 2-1 at the same venue. But in July 2001, the Super Eagles lashed their hosts 4-0 in Khartoum’s twin city, Omdurman, to virtually seal a place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals in Korea/Japan.