AHEAD NIGERIA VS TANZANIA
- Akwa Ibom Govt throws gates open to fans to come cheer Eagles
Okon Bassey in Uyo
Super Eagles wednesday defeated Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club side, Akwa United FC, 3-0 in a test game ahead of Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Tanzania also in Uyo.
An impressive crowd turned up at the equally impressive Akwa Ibom International Stadium to watch the Eagles in action with youngster Victor Osimhen, goalkeeper Ikechuwu Ezenwa and Shehu Abdullahi seeing action, while the likes of John Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho were rested.
The Eagles under new coach Gernot Rohr won thanks to first half goals by Brown Ideye and Nosa Igiebor with Watford striker Odion Ighalo wrapping up the win after the interval.
Franco-German Rohr insisted on the game to ascertain the match fitness of his call-ups for the AFCON dead rubber which will serve as a dress rehearsal for a 2018 World Cup qualifier on October 3 in Zambia.
Nigeria will then welcome Algeria in another Russia 2018 showdown in November.
Meanwhile, in a mark of solidarity, the Akwa Ibom State Government has declared the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match between Nigeria and Tanzania scheduled for the Ibom International Stadium on Saturday free for football enthusiast to watch.
The state’s Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Monday Ukoh, said yesterday that the government decided to throw the gate open for fans to cheer the Super Eagles to victory.
According to him, the gesture would attract more fans to watch the Eagles and to ensure the 30,000 capacity Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo is filled during the encounter.
It is new Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr’s first competitive test on the Nigerian job. He is hoping to use it to test players ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers starting in October.
The state government, the commissioner said was not unaware of the economic challenges facing many Nigerians especially youths, hence the need to assist them with free tickets to watch the game.
Football fans in the state have called on the state government not to politicise the tickets as such actions in the past have denied genuine football fans in the area of watching the Super Eagles
According to one of the fans, Abasiama James, the free tickets by the state government is commendable but it should be made available to everybody on first come first serve basis.
“Nice one, but the tickets should be made available for everybody; they should not
politicize it as usual.
“It is not a political event, it’s a football match of the national team not a political party team, so the idea where only political groups are given the tickets should be stop.” he declared.