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Eagles To Play England In October

Oladipo Okubanjo

Nigeria’s men national soccer team, the Super Eagles, will be engaging the Three Lions of England in an international friendly on a yet to be decided date in October, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has revealed. The NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, mooted the idea of a friendly between the two teams at a meeting with Chairman of the English Football Association (EFA), Greg Dyke, in London.

Pinnick, who was in the English capital to seek collaboration between the Nigeria soccer body and its England counterpart, told his host that it has become imperative that the Eagles and Three Lions size themselves up close on two decades after the last meeting. “We believe it is time we had an England-Nigeria match at Wembley (Stadium), and we have done our homework and found that you (England) have nothing on in the FIFA window in October,” said the NFF boss.

Dyke, it was learnt, has instructed his aides to take up the friendly match issue with the department managing the England national team, and promised to speak to manager Roy Hodgson about it. It was agreed that should the October date not be feasible, then there should be an England-Nigeria friendly at the next available opportunity.

The Super Eagles, it will be recalled, had after making their World Cup debut at the 1994 competition in the United States played a friendly against England at Wembley, which the Three Lions won 1-0.

Both sides did not meet again until 2002, when their World Cup match ended goalless at the Korea/Japan competition. Pinnick, who was lavished in his praises and hearty of his approbation for the English FA at the meeting, spoke of his desire to fashion the management of football in Nigeria after the EFA model. He said: “We have every reason to want to work with you.

Apart from the fact that England colonized our country, and that London remains a first stop for many of our country’s people looking to sojourn abroad, we also see you as ideal and perfect role model against which we would want to build our game.”

Highlighting areas where the NFF would be needing the EFA’s support, the Nigeria football supremo listed technical support and development of Nigeria football, providing support and advise on all areas of administration and leadership.

The English FA chairman, Dyke, in his response, pledged to do everything possible to promote collaboration with the NFF, while expressing his interest in establishing strong relations internationally. “After we lost our 2018 bid (to host the FIFA World Cup), it became apparent that we needed to build our international ties, and we need true friends, so I am very keen on this,” said Dyke.

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