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AFCON Qualifiers: Super Eagles Jet Out To Maseru For Clash Against Lesotho
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AFCON Qualifiers: Super Eagles Jet Out To Maseru For Clash Against Lesotho

Felix Egbomuche

Felix Egbomuche

The Super Eagles have departed Nigeria for Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho, ahead of their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier clash.

Nigeria will square off against the Crocodiles in their second game of the qualifying series after a slim win against Benin Republic on Wednesday in Uyo.

Gernot Rohr and his men were originally scheduled to fly out for the game on Friday, but according to reports, the trip was postponed due to health and sporting reasons.

Speaking to Brila FM, the media officer of the team, Toyin Ibitoye, said the reason for the flight change was because the NFF intended to control the team’s ability to play under a high-altitude with little difficulty.

“It’s an advantage for us. We could go early and start a long and unending process to acclimatize with the high-altitude or get there in a short while, get to work and be done before the high-altitude effects get to the players.

“But the change in travel plans is about getting there before high-altitude effects kick in, and don’t forget we’re also going to be playing on an artificial surface against a side that is used to every condition we’ll be playing in.

“So, it’s great thinking by the NFF that is also ensuring the team go by chartered flight and we can control the timing and all what not."

NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, however, gave a different reason for the change in flight date and time.

“We had issues as regards the size of aircraft that was fit enough to land on the airstrip in Maseru, ” Pinnick told Lagos Talks sports programme, ‘Sports Zone’, on Friday.

“The initial aircraft we got from a certain airline operator was big, so we had to get another one. But all of that has now been sorted out,” Pinnick explained.

“However, we don’t want to fall victim of the airliner not having a landing permit as the Lesotho Aviation Authority closes its airspace at 7 pm, so no flight is allowed to land anything past the hour.”

With all of the issues rectified, the team flew out of the country in the early hours of Saturday and are expected to land in Maseru before dusk.