CAF Approves 10,000 Fans For Eagles/Crocodiles Match In LagosA select group of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) officials, as well as those of the Super Eagles, yesterday, embarked on a boat trip to Porto Novo, to ‘test run’ the waterway ahead of the African Cup of Nations qualifier against the Squirrels of Benin Republic. The match will hold on Saturday, March 27 at the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo.
Coach Gernot Rohr had told journalists recently in Lagos that the team would most likely go by boat to avoid the bad roads between Nigeria and Benin Republic.
An official of the NFF, who was part of the trip, told The Guardian yesterday that the decision to ‘test the route’ was to enable the federation ascertain whether or not it would be safe for the players and their coaching crew to journey through boat for the match.
“We are inside a boat going to Porto Novo,” he said. “We want to be sure if it will be safe and easier for the team to go by boat for the match this weekend. The road is not good between Lagos and Cotonou, and it may take just two hours crossing the water, instead of many hours on bad roads.”
The boat trip to Porto Novo has raised concern among some football-loving Nigerians, but NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, has said he sees nothing wrong with the Super Eagles cruising on boat to Benin Republic.
“Going to Cotonou by boat, I do that all the time. When we were going to inspect the venue, we did it. There is nothing wrong with exploring other forms of adventure in Nigeria,” Pinnick said.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have given approval for ten thousand fans to watch the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier between the Super Eagles and Lesotho’s Crocodiles at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos on March 30, 2021.
CAF gave the nod in response to NFF request to allow football fans to watch the match in Lagos, but warned that it has to comply with the COVID-19 protocols.
“We are returning the Super Eagles to Lagos for the first time in 20 years and we felt it would not be fair to play in an empty stadium hence we applied to CAF to allow us admit fans into the Teslim Balogun stadium for our game against Lesotho.”
“Fortunately for us, CAF obliged by allowing the admittance of 30 percent of the stadium’s total capacity to watch the game. So we expect about 10,000 fans to be at the stadium to cheer the Super Eagles to victory on March 30,” an NFF official stated.
CAF however warned that it would not condone any breach of the COVID-19 protocols stressing that temperature check of the fans and social distancing must also be observed.
“We are putting everything in place to ensure that we meet the CAF requirements and COVID-19 protocols. All hands are on deck to ensure that we spread the fans round the stadium in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.”