• Nigeria will be ready for World Cup friendlies
Spanish LaLiga giant, Atletico Madrid will visit Africa for the first in its history on May 22 and Nigeria is one of its destinations. Already, a friendly match against the Super Eagles team B has been lined up Europa League finalists in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
MultiChoice Nigeria and provider of digital terrestrial television platform, GOtv, is bringing the match as part of activities lined up to mark the maiden GOtv MAX Cup. It will take place at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
General Manager, Sales and Marketing, MultiChoice Nigeria, Martin Mabutho said: “We are delighted to bring one of the three biggest clubs from LaLiga to Nigeria in what we believe will be a historic visit. Atletico Madrid is one of the top clubs in LaLiga. GOtv customers and indeed, football fans in Nigeria, will have the rare opportunity of watching the stars play the Super Eagles right here on Nigerian soil.”
On his part, president of LaLiga, Javier Tebas said: “This is a historic announcement, and we are excited to share this news with our Nigerian fans. Africa and Nigeria in particular are very important for us and have a lot of love for Spanish football, something we are proud of.”The Second Vice President of Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Mallam Shehu Dikko was equally excited by the development. He said Atletico Madrid’s visit to Nigeria would go a long way in improving the already exciting relationship between the League Management Company (LMC) and the LaLiga.
Former Super Eagles midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju, who is LaLiga ambassador, says the match in Uyo would bring Nigerian fans closer to their favourite top stars in Atletico Madrid.
“As the LaLiga ambassador, growing the LaLiga brand in Nigeria has always been my primary objective. I am excited about the visit of Atletico Madrid to our country because it will definitely bring Nigerian fans closer to LaLiga. The match will afford Super Eagles coaches to pick some players for upcoming matches, particularly the Afcon qualifiers that will take place soon after the World Cup,” Adepoju, a former player of Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Racing Santander of Spain stated.
Meanwhile, Super Eagles midfielder, Ogenyi Onazi has assured that Nigeria will be ready for the pre-World Cup friendly matches against the Democratic Republic of Congo, England and the Czech Republic.
Nigeria host the Leopards of the DR Congo in Port Harcourt on May 28, before a prestige clash with England’s Three Lions at Wembley Stadium in London on June 2 and an encounter with the Czech Republic in Vienna on June 6.“We are not focusing on any particular game; we are getting ready to face all the teams that we have to play before the World Cup. It is the right mentality to approach the games.
“I have been asked several questions about the match against England, but I tell people that the England match is very important, just like the other matches that we have to play. What is key for us is to get into the right psychological state to confront every opposition that lie ahead, including those that will be waiting at the FIFA World Cup,” Onazi told thenff.com on phone from his base in Turkey.
Former FIFA U17 World Cup silver –winning midfielder Onazi, who played for Nigeria at the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, dismissed feelings that the team would be over-confident going into the FIFA World Cup following victories in friendlies against Argentina and Poland.The Eagles clash with the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, before flying to London for the match against England at Wembley. Four days later, they will trade tackles with the Czech Republic at the Rudolf Tonn Stadium, just outside Vienna.