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Durban, home away from home for Eagles

By Patrick Omorodion
If there is anything the Super Eagles will miss during the World Cup in South Africa, it is definitely not the feeling of a visitor as the team, as well as the numerous Nigerian football fans who are expected to throng Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal Province, will feel at home.

Super Eagles players jubilating after winning a match at the Abujaational stadium

Apart from the fact that the region of KwaZulu Natal where Durban is situated has adopted the Eagles as the team of Durban for the World Cup, the players, officials and fans will enjoy the warmth of Durban, a city which enjoys almost the same weather conditions as most Nigerian cities.

While other host cities may experience cold temperature during the World Cup, Durban climate between June and July  is sub-tropical, mild and sunny, rising up to 25 degrees centigrade and will be conducive for Eagles training.

Even though the Eagles’s first two matches against Argentina and South Korea will be played outside Durban, the team are expected to train in Durban and travel out for a day or two to honour those matches.

Their first match on June 12, a remarkable date in Nigeria’s political history, will see the Eagles tackling the Albiceleste of Argentina and try to demystify their diminutive attacker and World footballer of the year, Lionel Messi at the Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.

Five days after facing Argentina, Lars Lagerback will line out his wards at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein against the fast pacing South Koreans while Durban will be the home for their third and final group match against Greece at the Durban Stadium on June 22.

One thing is however clear here and that is while the Eagles train in Durban and play in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, they are likely to be faced with altitude problem because Johannesburg has an altitude of 1753 metres above sea level while Bloemfontein has 1400 metres. Durban has zero altitude.

Another feature that will make the Eagles and other Nigerians feel at home in Durban is the planned Naija Fan Village, a unique fan park being packaged as a platform for Nigerian companies, states and parastatals to be part of the Worldc Cup party.

The Village which is designed to maximise the experience of the World Cup for Nigerians as well as other football fans from other parts of the world who will be in Durban for the World Cup, will also help showcase  Nigerian companies, products, culture and tourism potentials to the rest of the world.


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