A 39-man contingent of the 2012 African Cup of Nations-bound Palancas Negras of Angola arrived in the Federal Capital, Abuja on Tuesday ahead of today’s international friendly game against the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
The delegation touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at 4.33pm aboard a chartered aircraft, which will fly the team back to Luanda on Wednesday evening immediately after the match.
President of the Federacao Angolana de Futebol, Mr. Pedro de Morais Neto led the delegation, which also included vice presidents of the Federation, the Head Coach, four Assistant Coaches, team manager, journalists, psychologist, team doctor, physiotherapist, equipment manager and 22 players. The team trained on Tuesday night at the mainbowl of the National Stadium.
They were received on arrival by General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Musa Amadu and the Director of Technical, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme, as well as a battery of media representatives.
The Palancas Negras and officials are quartered at the Transcorp Hilton hotel, and will have a light walk-out on Wednesday morning. The match co-ordination meeting will also take place on Wednesday morning, at the NFF Secretariat.
FIFA referee Aguidissou Crespin from Republic of Benin will be at the centre, to be assisted by compatriots Padonou Prosper (1st Assistant) and Fassinou Alexis (2nd Assistant). Nigerian FIFA referee Bunmi Ogunkolade will be the fourth official.
The Nigeria Football Federation reiterated on Tuesday that gates will be thrown open for the match.
Amadu said: “We want Nigerians to come out en masse to the National Stadium, Abuja and bond together, and also support the Super Eagles in this match against Angola.
It is an important game for our team as it prepares for the African Cup of Nations qualifying match against Rwanda next month”.
The Super Eagles will fly out to Monrovia on Friday for another international friendly match, this time against the Lone Star of Liberia, which will take place at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia on Sunday, 15th January.
Coach Jose Carlos Vidigal expects a tough game from the Super Eagles as his wards set into the final stages of preparation for the three-week, 16-nation African Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, starting next week.
On his part, Nigeria’s Coach Stephen Keshi will have a good look at the boys he has been drilling at residential camping since last month, with a view to seeing which of them would be good enough to win shirts in the team to face Rwanda in a 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifier in Kigali next month.