AFCON 2015 Qualifier: Nigeria accuses Congo of withholding travel details

The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has reported the Congolese Football Federation to the Confederation of African Football, following the latter’s refusal to afford Nigeria details of its travel plans for Saturday’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Super Eagles in Calabar.

On Tuesday, the NFF’s Head of International, Bola Oyeyode, told CAF that the Congolese team refused to inform Nigeria about its plans to arrive Nigeria. Subsequently, the Congolese Federation forwarded a terse message about its advance party arriving in Nigeria on Wednesday and in need of visa-on-arrival.

“We are surprised at the attitude of the Congolese FA. They have kept silent all along, refusing to give us details of their travel plans, only for them to be requesting visa-on-arrival for their advance party which they stated would arrive in Nigeria on Wednesday,” Ademola Olajire quoted Mr. Oyeyode as saying in a statement.

“They gave no details of which persons constitute the advance party and no passport details. In any event, we have written to CAF to say we cannot arrange visa-on-arrival for them as we have no details, and moreover, there is an Embassy of Nigeria in Brazzaville. They should secure their visas before coming to Nigeria,” Oyeyode added.

The camp of the African champions has been buoyant with 19 players in camp before dinner on Tuesday, and all arrangements in proper shape for Saturday’s showdown.

NFF’s Director, Technical, Emmanuel Ikpeme, has been in Calabar since Monday to prepare the ground for both teams, match officials.

“Everything is in great shape here, thanks to the Government of Governor Liyel Imoke, CON. The only thing missing is information on the travel plans of the Congolese delegation. But everything has been arranged for them and things are moving according to plan,” Mr. Ikpeme said on Wednesday morning.

The Red Devils who won the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon 42 years ago, were restored to the campaign after losing on penalty shoot – out to Rwanda’s Amavubi, following CAF’s disqualification of Rwanda for using an ineligible player.

Saturday’s showdown at the U.J. Esuene Stadium is the first of six matches for each of the teams in seven groups of four teams in the qualifying series for the main competition scheduled for Morocco early next year.

The match kicks off at 5pm.

Clashes between Nigeria and Congo at international level are few and far between, but the devils famously held the Eagles to a 0-0 draw in Lagos in a group phase match at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations. Last year, the Golden Eaglets mauled the Congo U-17 side 7-0 at the African U-17 Championship in Morocco.

The Super Eagles delegation is expected to fly into Cape Town on Tuesday morning for the clash with South Africa’s Bafana Bafana on Wednesday next week.


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