Nigeria’s national team and their officials have been issued visas to the USA for an international friendly.
A couple of days ago, some officials expressed apprehension after the Eagles were denied diplomatic treatment at the United States Embassy in Abuja even after the Nigerian Ministry of External Affairs intervened.
However, on Friday, not only were the Eagles and the officials granted their visas, they were also accorded a grandiose reception.
Led by Assistant Coach, Daniel Amokachi, the team got to the embassy at about 7:45a.m.
Though the embassy officials still followed due protocols through the visa issuance process, staff of the embassy (Nigerians and Americans) swarmed the team for unexpected pictures, autographs and pleasantries.
The officials also wished the team well in the game against Venezuela, and also the South Africa 2013 Nations Cup.
The team was then ushered into the US Embassy library, where an official of the ‘Education USA’ programme told the footballers that they could get an education in preparation for life after football.
“There are even opportunities for scholarship if such players and the general Nigerian public tap into the opportunities that are available”, she said.
Amokachi expressed his delight with the treatment meted out by officials of the embassy saying: “I’m totally shocked and positively excited at the treatment meted to us and I will convey this to our Head Coach, Stephen Keshi.”
Eagles not desperate for victory
Though the Eagles will play to win against Venezuela, the handlers have said the team is not desperate for victory.
“We want to win but we are not desperate. We don’t also want to lose the game because we want to keep a good frame of mind ahead of the Nations Cup in 2013 and that is why we are starting with home based players, discovering new stars and then joining them up with our foreign based stars to give Nigerian football lovers what they want at the Nations Cup,” Amokachi, a Tunisa 94 Nations Cup winner, said.
Amokachi said the focus is to return the team to the glory days when Nigerians could sleep easy before an important game.
“We hope we can do well at the Nations Cup and probably play in the final and make Nigerians happy again, that is the target of the Head Coach and the entire team”, he said.
Meanwhile, on Saturday morning, the national team will tackle Water FC of Abuja at the training pitch of the Abuja National Stadium, as part of preparations for the friendly match against Venezuela.
The match will be played at 7a.m