By Onochie Anibeze, Abuja
The Abuja weather was not harsh on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday that the Super Eagles had serious training sessions. Rains fell Thursday night but at noon on Friday, the weather had so brightened up that the sun scorched a little bit.
At 1 pm the Eagles were already having their closed session under the sun. They can claim some kind of re-acclimatization even if it is not total.
CAF, the continent’s football governing body had scheduled the last Nations Cup qualifying matches for 2 pm to stop anybody from influencing any result. It meant that weather would play a big factor in countries with tropical weather.
This could manifest more in teams whose players are based in Europe. Eagles are one. They have more players in Europe than Guinea who they face today in the make or mar match for the automatic ticket for the next Nations Cup. This is why emphasis has not only been on skills but also the vagaries of weather.
When Nigeria protested to CAF to change the time Guinea reacted, saying that they would be at home with hot weather. Nigeria’s coach Samson Siasia asked Nigerians not to panic, assuring that he would make the players adapt to the time and weather. But Abuja has not been particularly sunny in the past five days.
And many here in Abuja are wishing that it remains so today when the game begins at 2 pm. Whatever happens, the coaches of the two sides will consider the weather factor in their game plans.
And it was on this basis that the President of the football federation, Aminu Maigari told the players the following: “There are no more minnows in football, no more small or big countries. What wins a match for teams are not only their skills but also their fighting spirit. Determination is key, so when you get onto the field.