1st September, 2010
The Abuja camp of Nigeriaâ€™s Super Eagles came alive as more foreign-based players arrived for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Madagascar scheduled for Sunday at the U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
P.M.Sports gathered that most of the Eagles invited for Nigeriaâ€™s first match, after their dismal outing at the last South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup, have hit the Abuja camp. Apart from Chelsea of Englandâ€™s John Mikel Obi and West Ham Unitedâ€™s new signing, Obinna Nsofor, who will arrive camp today, other players are already sweating it out in training with the stand-in coach, Austin Eguavoen at the Abuja National Stadium.
At least 20 players are already in camp ahead of Sundayâ€™s cracker against a lowly rated national team of Madagascar, who are 140 on FIFA rankings. P.M.Sports learnt that Coach Eguavoen drilled the players for about three hours during their training yesterday, while they also trained early today with another session scheduled for this evening.
The team are expected to depart for Calabar tomorrow morning early enough for them to acclimatise with the weather condition of the new match venue.
However, Eguavoen allayed fears about the teamâ€™s preparations for the match on Sunday.
â€œThese little hiccups cannot stop us from defeating Madagascar. We still have some more days to train and do something meaningful together.â€
Meanwhile, former Eagles coach, Paul Hamilton told P.M.Sports early today the team should defeat their opponents convincingly in Sundayâ€™s qualifier, saying that it will be a huge disappointment if Nigeria win with a slim margin.
â€œI have absolute confidence that the Eagles will come out victorious against Madagascar on Sunday. Eagles know that anything short of victory will rekindle the anger of the soccer-loving Nigerians after a disappointing outing at the last World Cup in South Africa. My advice is that they should not underrate their opponents. They should play their best game to make Nigerians happy,â€ said Hamilton, who is the Proprietor of Weekend Football Academy in Lagos.
The former Super Falcons handler urged Nigerians to come out in their numbers to cheer the Eagles to victory in Calabar so that the return leg will be an easy task for the team.
â€œWe still need to support the Eagles despite the fact that they failed to live up to expectations at the World Cup. We should forget the past and make sure that Nigeria qualify for the next African Nations Cup in Gabon/Equatoria Guinea,â€ he said.