Eagles players praying after their first training session in Dubai on Tuesday afternoon
The national team, which departed the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja at about 2:20pm Nigerian time via Addis Ababa enroute Dubai, has landed safely in the United Araba Emirate preparatory to their match on Thursday against the seven-time African Nations Cup winners; Pharaohs of Egypt.
After a four and half hour flight, the team landed in Addis Ababa at about 9:20pm Ethiopian time, aboard an Ethiopian Airways jet. It was a relatively smooth flight. After over an hour stop over the team boarded another flight this time to Dubai.
The flight took about three hours, twenty minutes to land in the magnificent and ever busy, Dubai International Airport. It was around 3:20am, Dubai time and 11:20pm Nigerian time, as Dubai is three hours ahead of Nigeria.
Airport formalities were brief and the team soon found itself in the cosy Samaya Hotels and Resort in the heart of Dubai, where it will stay throughout the period of its sojourn in the UAE.
Dan Amokachi, who is still holding forte for Big Boss Stephen Keshi, described the flight as quite smooth and informed players that training commences in earnest later in the day.
Keshi, himself is expected to link up with the rest of the squad by Wednesday morning as he has already taken off from the United States, where he is presently holidaying with his family. The team will resume training at 4:30pm Dubai time and 1:30 Nigerian time ahead of the game against Egypt.
So far, there are no injury worries and the players are in good mood and are looking forward to the friendly on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Pharaohs of Egypt, who were expected in Dubai on Tuesday evening will share the same accommodation facilities in Samaya Hotel and Resorts in Dubai for their friendly game which comes up on Thursday.
Match organisers say there was no need for separate hotels as the game is a friendly game and should create an atmosphere of friendship between officials and players of both teams. NFF officials are also expected in town on Wednesday ahead of the encounter on Thursday and they will also be quartered at the Samaya Hotel.
Facilities in the hotel are quite commendable, as it’s a five-star hotel, complete with a gym and other facilities that sportsmen require to stay in tune for match situations.
The game proper between Nigeria and Egypt will be played 8pm Dubai time and that is 5pm Nigerian time, officials of the organisers also confided in us.
The stadium to be used will be decided by Tuesday night as there are four international stadia in Dubai and none has yet been picked, as both countries have to agree on the stadium of choice. Despite that the Super Eagles have already started training in one of the stadiums ahead of the encounter.