Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu has bemoaned the failure of the Belgian embassy in Nigeria to issue entry visas into that country for players and officials of the Senior National Football Team of Nigeria for two friendlies this week.
International passports of some Super Eagles players and officials are still at the Belgian embassy, less than 48 hours before a high –profile international friendly against the Demnocratic Republic of Congo, which has been approved by world body, FIFA. The Eagles are also to play against bitter rivals Cameroon on Sunday in Dendermonde.
“We are shocked beyond words at the attitude of the Embassy of Belgium in Nigeria. This action is a strange one in international sports. Football preaches and spreads peace and love, but we are taken aback at the attitude of the Belgian embassy in Nigeria.”
Anyansi-Agwu, who as chairman of Enyimba FC has traveled the world in the course of football in the past 15 years, lamented the action that threatens Nigeria’s preparation for the two matches.
“This attitude of the Embassy of Belgium in Nigeria is not known to international sports. Our team’s preparedness for the only preparatory games ahead of the beginning of FIFA World Cup qualifiers has been unduly hampered. The team’s medical crew and other critical backroom staff are held back in Nigeria.
“This action is not just against a Football Federation; it is against an entire nation.”
|FILE PHOTO: DOWN AND OUT: Godfrey Oboabona writhing in pains during the match against Iran. He is out of the World Cip|
Defender Abdullahi Shehu from Uniao da Madeira in Portugal arrived in camp on Monday night, while goalkeeper and skipper Vincent Enyeama joined the group on Tuesday afternoon before training session at the R. Battice ground.
Officials were expecting Turkey –based defender Godfrey Oboabona and six home –based players (held up in Abuja alongside other officials due to non-issuance of visa by the Embassy of Belgium).
Eagles’ administrator, Enebi Achor, said the group is hopeful that Oboabona (also having visa issues in Turkey) would arrive on Wednesday, while also believing the Belgian embassy would issue visas to home –based professionals and other officials by Wednesday.
Achor said from Belgium: “The atmosphere here is very conducive for the players. The city is so quiet and serene, the hotel is marvelous and the training ground has been commended by all the players.”
In Port Harcourt, where the home boys are preparing for a 2016 African Nations Championship final qualifying fixture against Burkina Faso, all 19 players turned up in camp by Tuesday afternoon and had a first training session on Tuesday evening, with Eagles’ assistant coach Salisu Yusuf taking charge.
Team Coordinator Pascal Patrick informed thenff.com that the spirit is quite high in camp as the boys look to win shirts for the first leg encounter against the Etalons at the Adokiye Amiesiamaka Stadium on Sunday, 18th October.
Thenff.com also learnt that Abia Warriors’ forward Chisom Chikatara (who hit a hat-trick against Enugu Rangers in a Week 32 NPFL game on Sunday) was called in place of Wikki Tourists’ striker Godwin Obaje, who is said to have traveled outside the country.
The Super Eagles full squad tackles the Leopards of Democratic Republic of Congo in Vise on Thursday before another mouth –watering clash with the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Dendermonde on Sunday.
The last time Nigeria faced Cameroon at full international level was on February 8, 2004, when the Super Eagles came from behind to win 2-1 and eliminate Cup holders Cameroon at the quarter final stage of the Africa Cup of Nations in Monastir, Tunisia. A Samuel Eto’o goal was cancelled by a magnificent Jay –Jay Okocha free –kick just before half –time, and a sublime Nwankwo Kanu pass was converted by John Utaka for the winner mid –way into the second half.
PLAYERS IN BELGIUM: Vincent Enyeama, Carl Ikeme, Leon Balogun, Abdullahi Shehu, Elderson Echiejile, William Troost Ekong, Efe Ambrose, Ogenyi Onazi, Obiora Nwankwo, John Mikel Obi, Rabiu Ibrahim, Ahmed Musa, Emmanuel Emenike, Sylvester Igbonu, Moses Simon, Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi. EXPECTED: Godfrey Oboabona, alongside six home –based professionals still yet to be issued visas in Abuja.
PLAYERS IN PORT HARCOURT: David Obiazor, Okemute Odah, Solomon Kwambe, Kalu Orji, Osas Okoro, Idris Aloma, Ezekiel Bassey, Samson Gbadebo, Jamiu Alimi, Abdulrazaq Aliyu, Stephen Eze, Bright Onyedikachi, Bature Yaro, Ifeanyi Mathew, Usman Mohammed, Chisom Chikatara, Tunde Adeniji, Dayo Ojo, Gbolahan Salami.