Super Eagles were in high spirit when they arrived in Porto Novo on Friday by boat for Saturday’s crucial 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Benin Republic.
In a video clip obtained, the players were seen listening to music and gisting as they are at the Porto Novo Jetty in half a dozen boats across the waterways from Lekki, Nigeria.
In one of the video clips, the captain of the team, Ahmed Musa, was seen joking with his colleagues.
They were received by Nigeria’s ambassador to the Benin Republic, Olawale Awe, and other mission staff, who later led the team and other officials to Cotonou, where the group is ensconced at the Golden Tulip Hotel.
The Super Eagles will ride by bus to Porto Novo on Saturday morning and return to the Golden Tulip after their clash with the Squirrels at the Stade Charles de Gaulle, a statement from the Nigeria Football Federation added.
Three-time champions Nigeria could be sure of the 19th appearance at African football’s flagship tournament if Sierra Leone and Lesotho are locked in a stalemate in their early game in Maseru on Saturday.
“But the Eagles are insisting on focusing on their own game and result rather than wait for help from one bumpy pitch in southern Africa,” the statement added.
The Squirrels, who sensationally reached the quarter-finals of the last edition of the AFCON in Egypt two years ago before losing to Tunisia (losers to Nigeria in the third-place match), had their last training session at the Stade Charles de Gaulle on Thursday, with Coach Michel Dussuyer saying his boys are ready to calmly collect the three points from better –fancied Nigeria.
The Confederation of African Football had appointed officials from Morocco to superintend the game, with Rédouane Jiyed, a 42 –year old who became an international referee in 2009 and currently one of the highest-rated referees in Africa, dictating the tune.
He will be assisted by Lahsen Azgaou (assistant referee 1), Mostafa Akarkad (assistant referee 2) and Samir Guezzaz (fourth official) – all Moroccans. The match commissioner is Yameogo David and Ghanaian Julius Ben Emunah is the security officer.
The match kicks off at 5 pm.