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DISAPPOINTMENT:Amokachi, Yobo, Utaka, Ayenugba stuck in Lagos

By Onochie Anibeze
Disappointment   took the better part of Nigeria Football Federation officials yesterday when the Austrian Embassy still failed to issue visas to the remaining Nigerian contingent for the trip to Malta where others are already training for Saturday’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Tunisia.

CONTEST.....Super Eagles’ Joseph Yobo (R) battles for the ball with Ghana’s Ossei Kuffour (L) during their 2006 Nations Cup ma
CONTEST.....Super Eagles’ Joseph Yobo (R) battles for the ball with Ghana’s Ossei Kuffour (L) during their 2006 Nations Cup ma

The Austrian Embassy oversees foreign affairs matters for Malta in Nigeria.And so Joseph Yobo, Dele Ayenugba and John Utaka would not have enough training sessions with the team before Saturday’s match. They will not be in Malta. It is same with assistant coach, Daniel Amokachi.

“Time is running out and we cannot continue to wait for them,” federation’s spokesman Demola Olajire said yesterday, adding “we have decided that those still in Nigeria fly straight to Tunisia and wait for the team from Malta to join them on Thursday.”

However, Vincent Enyeama and Sani Kaita who were held at Frankfurt over visa issues have rejoined the team. “Their matter was sorted out and they are now in Malta,” Olajire said.

We later contacted Amokachi on phone yesterday and he said that missing the training in Malta was a sad development but expressed hope that Nigeria will leave Tunisia unscathed.

“Going straight to Tunisia is the only way out now and we will leave tomorrow (today),” he said after leading the three players in training.

“We have just finished training. Things have not gone the best way for us but they will eventually turn out to be great. We will leave Tunisia with the three points. We have suffered and worked for victory and by the grace of God we will get it.”

The 3-0 victory against Kenya raised hopes for Nigerians but many have continued to express fear on the grounds that Kenya missed very close chances.

“It is normal to miss chances in football,” Amokachi said. “We also missed chances otherwise we could have scored more. But that match is gone. It is June 20 that we are all talking about. I think it will be a good day for us.”


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