Opinion

10 years later, Super Eagles Return to play in Lagos

By Alexander Johnson Adejoh

Nigeria’s largest city Lagos will henceforth host a competitive men’s senior football match for the first time in 10 years on 30 March 2021.

The Super Eagles will take on Lesotho in their final 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Teslim Balogun stadium.

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) officials said that the number of fans allowed in to the stadium to watch the match depends on the Confederation of African Football’s Covid-19 protocols at the time.

The last competitive game Nigeria played in Lagos was a 1-0 Nations Cup qualifying win over Zambia in January 2001, while 10 years later there was a 2-1 friendly win over Sierra Leone at the Teslim Balogun venue.

Nigeria coach, Gernot Rohr, inspecting the facilities at the Teslim Balogun stadium with other officials

Fides learnt that the march’s game could see Lagos once again becoming a permanent home for the Super Eagles according to sports minister Sunday Dare who is keen to refurbish the dilapidated National Stadium in Lagos.

‘This city is excited to host the country’s first competitive fixture in 20 years in a place where the team rarely lose,’ chairman of the Lagos State Sports commission, Sola Aiyepeku, told newsmen.

‘Everything is geared towards making Lagos the home base again, because there’s a presence that this place has and demand that the fans have towards the opposition that puts them in fear.

‘We want the Nigeria fear factor that this city has to return and put that in the hearts and souls of teams that come here,’.

Reacting, Nigeria’s sports minister, Sunday Dare noted that his administration wants to refurbish the dilapidated National Stadium in Lagos

The city is also confident that it can put in all the necessary measures for the game despite the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.

‘It’s an unprecedented time to host the national team but wherever you go there is still the coronavirus, so it will definitely dampen probably the number of people,”‘ NFF vice president and Lagos FA boss Seyi Akinwunmi added.

‘The state has all the capacity, the hotels, state of the art ambulances, hospitals and everything which is an added reason for the country to come to Lagos.

‘It’s been a challenging year for the world in terms of football, but the country’s most famous state is delighted to welcome the Eagles back home where they’ve enjoyed a remarkable success,’ he said.

The Super Eagles have been playing their internationals around the country since the end of the 20th century when the cash-strapped Nigerian Football Association (now NFF) decided to approach cities interested in hosting international games.

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