By Femi Solaja
After playing ‘hide and seek’ with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), with information about their travel plans, Al Merreikh finally arrived the country last night for the all-important second leg CAF Champions League match against Enyimba FC.
The Sudanese side had refused to give detailts of their travel plans as expected but late yesterday via the team’s twitter handle, they announced that the team had arrived via Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja, 24 hour behind their earlier scheduled time.
The team arrived via Al Zaeem’s private plane and will board another flight this morning to Owerri before heading to Aba by road, said the club.
But in a strong communication with the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the NFF had protested the whereabouts of the team following its inability to locate the Sudanese scheduled to arrive Nigeria on Saturday.
“We write to bring to your attention that Al Merreikh SC communicated to us, their schedule to arrive Nigeria on Saturday, 2nd January 2021 at about 1800hrs via chartered flight through Port Harcourt International Airport.
Thus, we mobilized resources in readiness to receive the team as scheduled,” the statement from NFF read.
“However, on 1st January, 2021, we received another correspondence intimating us of their arrival on Saturday, 2nd January 2021 via EgyptAir at about 1345hrs.
“We deployed vehicles to Port Harcourt Airport and personnel to Lagos Airport in anticipation of the arrival of the team in any of the two entry points.
“Up till 2200hrs of the day, Saturday 2nd January 2021, Al Merreikh SC did not arrive in any of the two entry points and did not communicate to us changes in its plans. Thus, we are handicapped as to what to do and where to receive the team.
“It may also interest you to know that we have tried various communication channels to reach the team, including through its Embassy in Nigeria but all in vain.”
Saif Terry’s hat-trick handed Didier Gomes Da Rosa’s side a commanding 3-0 first-leg triumph inside Al-Merrikh Stadium in Omdurman.
The People’s Elephant must defeat the 21-time Sudan Premier League winners by at least four goals without conceding in the second leg billed for the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba to progress to the money spinning group phase.
Should the two-time CAF Champions League winners fail to overturn the deficit, Enyimba will be demoted to the second tier CAF Confederation Cup.