Nigeria’s national team on Monday started training in Belgium ahead of their two international friendlies in the European country. A check at the Super Eagles camp on Monday confirmed that 15 players had arrived at the R. Battice FC training ground where they are preparing for the matches against Cameroon and Congo.
Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi of Lazio and Odion Ighalo – a striker with Watford in the English Premier League – were amongst the first set of players to arrive in Liege. The other players who trained on Monday include goalkeeper Carl Ikeme and defender Elderson Echiejile. Defenders Efe Ambrose, William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun; midfielders Sylvester Igbonu, Rabiu Ibrahim and Obiora Nwankwo; and forwards Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon, Emmanuel Emenike and Alex Iwobi also trained.
The Nigeria Football Federation confirmed on their official website that the team would train twice on Tuesday (today) at the same venue.
But the story is not so good for Godfrey Oboabona, who is facing visa issues in Turkey. The NFF’s Assistant Director of Information, Demola Olajire, said that the player’s passport had yet to be released by the Belgian Embassy in that country.
The same challenge is being faced by some of the Eagles medical team. Olajire explained on Monday that Eagles’ officials on ground in Brussels may need to secure the services of a temporary physiotherapist for massage and medical matters if by Tuesday, the team’s medical crew (part of the delegation that is held up in Abuja) is not issued visas to join the group in Belgium.
Six home-based professionals are in the delegation yet to be issued visas in Abuja. These are goalkeepers Femi Thomas and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders Chima Akas and Austin Oboroakpo, midfielder Paul Onobi and forward Prince Aggrey.
The Eagles take on the Leopards of Democratic Republic of Congo in Vise, Liege on Thursday before playing the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Dendermonde on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s U-17 side, the Golden Eaglets, will on Tuesday (today) play their Argentine counterparts in a friendly match at the Argentina Football Association Training Centre in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires.
The match, which is part of the team’s preparation towards the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015, will kick off at 3.30 pm local time (7.30pm Nigerian time).
The team have been training twice daily since arriving on Friday and the technical crew is delighted at the keen competition in camp.
Coach Emmanuel Amuneke said on Monday that the team were okay with the camping arrangement.
He said, “I’m happy with the intensity of the training but we can get better. We have to keep working hard in the coming days because we have few days before our first match at the World Cup.” Punch