Visa trouble threatens Super Eagles friendly against Venezuela

Super Eagles of Nigeria

The Senate President and Sports Minister wade-in to ensure that the Super Eagles travel for the game

 

The Super Eagles proposed friendly match against Venezuela is being challenged by visa issuance from the American Embassy.

The match is scheduled for November 14 in Miami, United States.

The Ministry of External Affairs had tried to make the issuance of the visas easy for the Eagles by issuing a ‘Note Verba’ for the team to the U.S. Embassy. That was rejected, as officials of the embassy reportedly said the team is not entitled to such diplomatic treatment.

The Embassy, thereafter, fixed Friday, November 9, for the team to appear at its consulate for visa interviews.

While the team is scheduled to travel out on Sunday, November 11, the fear in the Eagles camp is that the visas may not be issued early enough which may upset travel plans put in place by the Nigeria Football Federation. The match is the first international friendly after the team’s qualification for the South Africa 2013 Nations Cup.

A top official of the team, however, assured that going by the smooth relationship between the Nigerian government and its American counterpart, he is sure that the visas will be ready on time for the team’s departure on Sunday.

“We have a smooth relationship with the USA Embassy and we are sure they will make the issuance of visas easy, but we also have to let government at the highest level know what we are going through”, the official said.

Already, the Senate President, David Mark, and the Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdulahi, have reportedly intervened to ensure that Super Eagles players and officials get the needed travel documents for the trip.

Reports from the NFF glass house indicate that the two top government officials are making efforts to ensure that the November 14 game sees the light of day.

Meanwhile, all the 24 home based players invited for the Venezuelan friendly are now in camp, even as the Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, ruled out the likes of Gabriel Reuben, Papa Idris, Joseph Yobo and Osaze Odemwingie from the trip due to injuries and club commitment.

“We don’t want to rush them back into the national team because we already know what they can do, let them heal well and then we hope they will be in good shape for the Nations Cup championship proper,” Keshi said.

The last two players to arrive camp Tuesday night were Ejike Uzoenyi of Rangers International, who took special permission to arrive late, and Kano Pillars’ Gambo Mohammed, whose late arrival was due to the four-club tourney in Niamey, Niger Republic last week. Only 15 of the home based players are expected to be selected for the match and are to be joined by the 9 invited foreign based players.


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