Total support for Flying Eagles in Cali
13 August 2011
Nigeria’s high-riding Flying Eagles have been assured of total support by fans on Sunday when they battle France for a place in the semi-finals of the U20 World Cup.
Vice-president of Colombian premier league side Deportivo Cali, Henry Cuartas Martinez, has assured that everyone who arrives at the Estadio Pasqual Guerrero on Sunday will be rooting for Nigeria.
“There is no doubt about it. Everyone will support Nigeria. We love the way your team has been playing. They are very captivating with good skill and plenty of goals,” saluted Martinez as the Nigeria U20s trained at the Club Deportivo Cali Friday evening.
The facility belongs to the Premier League club, and is set on the outskirts of the town. It has a 24-room hostel for players accommodation with all comfort contents, swimming pools, mini waterfalls, a bar, a lounge, two training pitches with well-appointed grass, supermarket, sportswear shop and a tennis court.
As he limbered up to the side of the field, Martinez (whose club sold Hugo Rodalega to Wigan Athletic in the English Premier League) went further: “Your boys are also very warm and friendly. We want them to reach the final and play against Colombia.”
The Flying Eagles had their first training in Cali Friday evening, with some emphasis on speed, strength and stamina work.
Sunday’s match at the Estadio Pasqual Guerrero will kick off at 3pm Colombia time (9pm Nigeria time).
Players and officials are highly concentrated on Sunday’s game with Head Coach Obuh brushing aside persistent media questions about which of Argentina or Portugal he thinks his side will face in the semi-finals.
“We are still in the quarterfinals, and no match is ever won until the referee’s final whistle”, he has had to remind everyone.
The Flying Eagles will have their final training also at the Club Deportivo Cali on Saturday afternoon, by which time it is expected that President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Aminu Maigari, would have re-joined the group.
Maigari traveled to London last week, after the Flying Eagles defeated Saudi Arabia to qualify for the Round of 16, to attend the international friendly between Nigeria and Ghana, which was later shifted as a result of the London riots.
Players and officials have become even livelier following the enhanced win-bonus offered by the NFF and the players are itching to go and conquer when the referee’s whistle sounds for kick-off on Sunday.