However they play, the result all Nigerian football fans want at the end of 90 minutes, or 180, or if it is inevitable, penalties, is for the Super Eagles to get the desired victory over the Black Stars of Ghana.
If it could be easier, we would not truly appreciate it. The tension can be cut with a knife as we count down the minutes to 6 p.m. at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, which is gradually filling up as the strategy to have 60,000 fans in the stadium seems to be working out as pictures at 3:30 p.m. indicate.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Nigeria Football Federation have concocted ‘Operation fill up MKO Stadium’ by purchasing 20,000 tickets and distributing them freely. There are also free bus shuttles that will be provided to ferry fans to the stadium as the administrative bodies hope to fill the 60,000-capacity stadium as a tool of intimidating the visiting Ghanaians.
The 0-0 from the first leg just added to the tension as the Black Stars understand that a score draw will send them instead to Qatar in place of their more favoured hosts.
A communication from the Office of the Head of the Federation read: “As you are aware, the Super Eagles of Nigeria will be meeting the Black Stars of Ghana in continuation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier, Playoff, (Return Leg).
“There is a need to mobilise support for the Nigerian team. Consequently, I am directed to inform you that all offices will be closed at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, 29th March 2022.”
Ken Ochonogor on Twitter wrote: “The $12m Match: Abuja fans, it’s only a few hours to the #JollofDerby. You’ve been provided 100 free buses, 25,000 free tickets, and a free half-day of work.
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“The goal can come in the 89th minute, don’t boo the boys. All we ask of you is support, support, and support our boys.”
The only possible danger is in the event of a win for the Eagles and the celebration that could turn into fans thronging the pitch to celebrate with the players.
The NFF and stadium administrators must look to have enough security personnel on the ground to negate any thronging or stampede at the end of the match.