By Jude Opara, Abuja
Ahead of the high profile 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier between the Super Eagles and the Pharaohs of Egypt next week, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has concluded arrangements for the team to fly to Alexandria via Egypt Air.
The first leg of the two-legged encounter will take place in Kaduna on March 25 while the return leg has been scheduled for the Egyptian city of Alexandria on March 29.
President of the NFF, Amaju Pinnick told journalists in Abuja yesterday that the choice of Air Egypt was reached in consultation with the acting Super Eagles Coach Samson Siasia.
Pinnick revealed that the federation also considered the option of travelling in a chartered flight but settled for Egypt Air because of several considerations including the comfort of the team, the regular flights of the airline from Nigeria as well as over N35 million naira that will be saved due to the new exchange rate.
“We have different options, we have Arik Air as our partners but they too are facing tough times. Everything you are doing now is in foreign currency so even if they say they are going to take $250,000 to fly the team, you know how much that is in Naira. It is over N70 million and they will have to pay landing and parking charges.
“But we looked at the Egypt Air who operate three flights each day from Nigeria; Kano, Lagos and Abuja. We know that using a chartered fight will be very convenient just as Egypt Air. Using the Egypt Air we will be saving a minimum of N35 to N40 million naira. We will leave Abuja on Saturday by 11.30 and get to Cairo same day and from Cairo to Alexandria is just about 20 minutes by air and about one hour by road.
“By Sunday and Monday they will train and on Tuesday they will play the match and we get out. It is not like Chad where you may not get the connecting flight. So looking at cost we also have to look at other operational activation and interestingly when I discussed this option with Siasia he bought it because that money could assist us in paying the match bonus of the players, and that is a man who is thinking.”
The president also assured Nigerians that his federation is doing everything necessary to get the country qualify for the continental championship.