Head Coach, Amodu Shai bu, led players of the national football team, Super Eagles, into the city of Ta Qali, Malta, on Monday afternoon, as the team set to begin final tactical and technical preparation for Saturdayâ€™s 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Tunisia in Tunis.
Amodu led other members of the technical crew, minus Assistant Coach Daniel Amokachi and media co-ordinator Peterside Idah (who were scheduled to travel on Monday night) into Malta at the head of 20 players who form the core of those that will battle for shirts for the big match.
There were goalkeeper Austin Ejide, defenders Taye Taiwo, Elderson Echiejile, Yusuf Mohammed, Adefemi Olubayo, Onyekachi Apam, Sam Sodje, Dele Adeleye, Obinna Nwaneri and Danny Shittu, midfielders Nwankwo Kanu, Olufemi Ajilore, Seyi Olofinjana, Mikel Obi, Kalu Uche and Dickson Etuhu, as well as forwards Obinna Nsofor, Joseph Akpala, Ikechukwu Uche and Michael Eneramo.
Striker Osaze Odemwingie was being expected to join the team from Russia.Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and midfielder Sani Kaita, as well as Team Secretary Robinson Okosun were not able to board the Lufthansa plane to Malta with the rest on Monday morning due to misunderstanding concerning their visa status. But the matter was resolved and they were to fly out to Malta from Frankfurt last night.
Goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba, defender Joseph Yobo and forward John Utaka still did not receive their visa from the Austrian Embassy, which issues Malta visa in Nigeria. Embassy officials say they have not received any response from the Malta Interior Ministry, which was to give the go-ahead.
Players and officials checked into the Corinthian Palace Hotel on Monday afternoon as the team was looking ahead to training fireworks ahead of the big match.
The last big match between Nigeriaâ€™ Super Eagles and Tunisiaâ€™s Carthage Eagles was in February 2006, in the quarter finals of the African Nations Cup finals hosted by Egypt. The match finished 1-1 at the El Masry Stadium in Port Said but the Eagles won penalty shoot-out to knock out the title holders and reach the semi-finals.
Two years earlier, in the semi-finals of the African Nations Cup hosted by Tunisia, the Carthage Eagles triumphed on penalty shoot-out after regulation and extra time finished 1-1 at the November 7 Stadium, Rades â€“ venue of Saturdayâ€™s clash.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.