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Qatar 2022 Qualifier: Super Eagles Prepare For Liberia, Cape Verde Games

Austin Okon-Akpan  
Updated August 30, 2021
In this photo released on August 30, 2021, Coach Gernot Rohr addresses the Super Eagles during a gym session ahead of their match against Liberia in Lagos. Source: Facebook- Nigeria Super Eagles

 

Captain Ahmed Musa and 19 other Super Eagles players have arrived at the Super Eagles camp in Lagos ahead of the opening match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification race.

The three-time African champions will face the Lone Star of Liberia at the Teslim Balogun Stadium from 5pm on Friday in the Day 1 clash, with the Eagles flying out of Lagos to the Island of Mindelo to take on the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde in a Day 2 fixture on September 7.

Veteran defender Kenneth Omeruo was among the first arrivals that included South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, England-based quartet of Alex Iwobi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Wilfred Ndidi, and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Former junior international Kingsley Michael, Abia Warriors’ Adekunle Adeleke, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, as well as forwards Henry Onyekuru and Chidera Ejuke have also arrived.

However, midfielder Joseph Ayodele-Aribo and forward Paul Onuachu are expected to come into town on Tuesday.

A photo released on August 30, 2021, shows the Super Eagles during a gym session ahead of their match against Liberia in Lagos. Source: Facebook- Nigeria Super Eagles

 

The team will have its first training session at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Tuesday.

Friday’s encounter will be the first FIFA World Cup qualifying game in Lagos since the Eagles defeated the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in a 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the adjacent National Stadium, Surulere in June 2000.

 

Super Eagles Thrown Out?

Meanwhile, reports emerged that the players were thrown out of the gym at a hotel where they were camped in the Victoria Island of Lagos.

But the Media Officer of the Super Eagles, Babafemi Raji, who faulted the claims, stated that he was present at the gym session.

Rather, he explained that it was a minor misunderstanding between an assistant manager at the hotel and his members of staff on the usage of the gym facilities.

According to Raji, some officials of the team had to get involved after the manager’s action caused a huge distraction to the team’s training.

“We were scheduled to train just within the hotel with the gym session coming first then the outdoor volley session next,” he was quoted as saying on the verified Facebook page of the Super Eagles.

Super Eagles at a gym session on August 30, 2021, ahead of their match against Liberia in Lagos. Source: Facebook- Nigeria Super Eagles

 

“However, just as we wrapped up the gym session, one of the hotel managers came in to inspect and while the team trained at a section of the gym just doing light stretches, he yelled at his members of staff and that caused a distraction to the team’s session which, although light, required concentration.

“While the back-and-forth between the manager of the hotel, his staff, and some officials of the Super Eagles was on, the gym session continued and lasted 45 minutes, which was 15 minutes more than the earlier scheduled 30 minutes.

“Coach of the team, Gernot Rohr called the entire team together to give instructions on the next session which was the volley outdoor session.”

Fifteen players, according to Raji, were involved in the training on Monday evening ahead of the game against Liberia on September 3.

But 20 players have already arrived in camp.

They are Maduka Okoye, Terem Moffi, Jamilu Collins, Valentine Ozornwafor, Innocent Bonke, Moses Simon, Shehu Abdullahi, Ahmed Musa, Samuel Kalu, Daniel Akpeyi, Adekunle Adeleke, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Oghenekaro Etebor, Francis Uzoho, Henry Onyekuru, Chidera Ejuke, Kingsley Michael, Wilfred Ndidi, Kenneth Omeruo in camp.