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FIFA cancels Nigeria’s victory dinner party

Belo Horizonte (Brazil) – A dinner party planned for the victorious Super Eagles’ squad on Monday night after the 6-1 defeat of Tahiti in their Group B 2013 FIFA Confederation Cup match was cancelled at the instance of FIFA.

Nigeria's footballers pose for the official picture before the start of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group B football match against Tahiti, at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte on June 17, 2013. (Standing L-R) Midfielder John Obi Mikel, defender Uwa Echijile, defender Efe Ambrose, defender Kenneth Omeruo, forward Anthony Ujah and midfielder Fegor Ogude. (First row, L-R) Forward Nnamdi Oduamadi, goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, forward Ahmed Musa, midfielder Sunday Mba and defender Godfrey Oboabona.   AFP PHOTO
Nigeria’s footballers pose for the official picture before the start of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group B football match against Tahiti, at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte on June 17, 2013. (Standing L-R) Midfielder John Obi Mikel, defender Uwa Echijile, defender Efe Ambrose, defender Kenneth Omeruo, forward Anthony Ujah and midfielder Fegor Ogude. (First row, L-R) Forward Nnamdi Oduamadi, goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, forward Ahmed Musa, midfielder Sunday Mba and defender Godfrey Oboabona. AFP PHOTO

A PANA Correspondent reported on Tuesday that the team was billed to have the dinner at Restaurant Atelier in Savassi centre in Belo Horizonte but FIFA officials, citing security reasons, prevented the Nigerian players from leaving their hotel at Belvedere.

They said that there had been street protests in Belo Horizonte and the measure was to prevent the Nigerian team from being caught up in any mob action.

PANA reports that most major streets in Belo Horizonte were closed on Monday night by the Brazilian military police following increased protests in the city.

One of the organisers of the dinner, Olusegun Akinruli, lamented the turn of events.

“It is sad, but we have to understand the concerns of FIFA. We would have loved to celebrate the victory with guests of Nigerian roots,’’ said Olusegun, who prepared the dishes for the players.

The Super Eagles, who at about 4.30 p.m. Nigerian time, touched down at the densely-populated Atlantic coastal city of Salvador for the next game, had private dinner at BH Mall in Belo Horizonte and walked back to their Ceaser Park hotel.

Councilman Leo Bourgeois also lamented the cancellation of the dinner.

“It’s sad. We try to show that there was sufficient security for the athletes. But we have to accept the decision of the FIFA.

“The cancellation was because of legitimate demonstrations within a democratic country.’’ (PANA/NAN)


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