Nigeria’s final preparations for the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which will hold in Egypt is set to begin on Sunday, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said on Friday.
Ademola Olajire, NFF’s Director of Communications, said in a statement that the preparations would begin when invited players, alongside the technical crew and administrative staff, start arriving in Asaba.
Asaba hosted the 2018 Aiteo Cup finals and the international friendly between the Super Eagles and Uganda’s Cranes in November 2018.
Since then, the Super Eagles have hosted Seychelles in the Delta state capital city in an AFCON qualifier and hosted Egypt in a friendly.
The city was also the setting for the under-23 national team’s thrashing of Libya in an Under-23 AFCON qualifier in March 2019.
Olajire said the Eagles’ backroom staff are expected to arrive in full on Sunday, with some players also expected, while the larger population of the players expected on Monday.
“This first phase of camping will also take in a friendly match, against equally Egypt-bound Warriors of Zimbabwe, at the Stephen Keshi Stadium on June 8,’’ he said.
The NFF spokesman said the players and officials would travel to the Egyptian city of Ismailia the following day aboard a chartered flight.
“They will stay at the Hotel Mercure and spend a full week perfecting tactics and strategies, before taking on Africa’s number one-ranked team Senegal in another friendly in Ismailia.
“On June 17, the three-times champions will travel to Alexandria, the venue of their Group B matches against Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar,’’ he added.
The team’s Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, had invited 25 players to the camp, with six other players — among them three home-based professionals — on standby.
25 EAGLES FOR AFCON 2019 CAMP
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy)
Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England)
Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Middlesbrough FC, England); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi SC, Belgium); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua, China)
Alexander Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland, Denmark); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)
Six On Standby: Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC)