The delegation of Nigeria’s Senior Men National Team has arrived in Los Angeles, United States of America for Saturday’s international friendly match taking place at the imposing Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, simply known as LA Coliseum.
Organisers expect a full house at the 77,500-capacity LA Coliseum at Saturday’s match, which would make it the most-attended game globally since the restrictions that followed the coronavirus pandemic which broke out last year.
Nigeria’s delegation included 22 players and a number of officials, including the NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi. President of the NFF and FIFA Council Member, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who honoured an invite by the Government of the State of Maryland in Baltimore on Wednesday, will join up with the contingent in Los Angeles on Friday.
As a result of injury to goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, the NFF had to fast-track National Exempt papers for Tottenham Hotspur of England U23 goalkeeper, Joshua Oluwayemi. He is expected in the team hotel in Los Angeles on Friday to beef up the goalkeeping department that has only Enyimba FC’s John Noble and Lobi Stars’ Stanley Nwabali.
NFF’s FIFA Match Agent, Jairo Pachon of Eurodata Sport has now confirmed that the match will kick off at 8pm LA time on Saturday (4am in Nigeria on Sunday).
It will be the sixth confrontation between the senior teams of both countries, four of which have ended in draws. The only win in the series has gone to Mexico who a US Gold Cup encounter in Dallas (State of Texas) 2-1 on June 24, 1995.
Close-fought confrontations include a 1-1 draw at the FIFA Intercontinental Tournament for the King Fahd Cup (now FIFA Confederations Cup) in Saudi Arabia on January 13, 1995 (Mexico prevailed 5-4 on penalties in the quarter final match), and 0-0 draws in friendly matches in Houston and Atlanta the previous decade. A friendly game in Mexico also ended 2-2.
EAGLES IN AMERICA
Goalkeepers: Stanley Nwabili (Lobi Stars); John Noble (Enyimba FC)
Defenders: Olisa Ndah (Akwa United); Adekunle Adeleke (Abia Warriors); Tope Olusesi (Rangers International); Enyinnaya Kazie (Rivers United); Imoh Obot (Enyimba FC); Tebo Franklin Degaulle (Nasarawa United); Lawal Oriyomi Murtala (Kwara United)
Midfielders: Anthony Shimaga (Rangers International); Seth Mayi (Akwa United); Uche Onwuasonaya (Plateau United); Ibrahim Olawoyin (Rangers International); Anayo Iwuala (Enyimba FC)
Forwards: Stephen Jude (Kwara United); Charles Ashimene (Akwa United); Chinonso Ezekwe (Rangers International); Auwalu Ali Malam (Kano Pillars); Neurot Emmanuel (Plateau United); Abdulmutalif Sanusi (Katsina United); Mohammed Zulkifilu (Plateau United); Sunday Adetunji (Rivers United)