NIGERIAN Football Federation (NFF) officials are planning to fly all the Super Eagles players plying their trade in England and Scotland to Lagos in a private jet in a desperate bid to get round some of the coronavirus restrictions.
On march 27, the Super Eagles will take on the Squirrels of Benin in an African Cup of Nations qualifier at the Charles de Gaulle Stadium in Porto Novo. Three days later, the Eagles will play their final qualification game against the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
Like most other countries, Nigeria is involved in intense discussions with the clubsides her players play for as getting round the Covid-19 restrictions for the games. In England for instance, anyone who travels abroad has to be quarantined for seven days upon their return, which is likely to make most clubs reluctant to release their players.
To help ameliorate the problems, the NFF is considering flying the players from England and back on a private jet to minimise their travel time. Eight of the 24 players invited by Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr play their football in England and Scotland including Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Semi Ajayi, Ola Aina, William Ekong, Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun.
An NFF spokesman said: “Talks are underway with their respective teams to have them released even if it’s for the first game but if that doesn’t work, we’ll explore the idea of flying them in a private jet. That will mean they don’t have to isolate upon their return.”
Reading playmaker Michael Olise who turned down England and France to play for Nigeria is on the standby list but cannot play until the NFF gets clearance from Fifa. Mr Rohr had explained that the mercurial midfielder cannot be fielded because having played for the French youth team, he needs to be cleared before he can be invited to the main squad.
Olise’s value soared by €4m overnight to €12m after he was named in the standby list for the two qualifiers. Around a year ago, Olise’s market value was just €800,000 but his valuation started to rise after he forced his way into the Royals’ first team and now that he has become an international, his pedigree has further increased significantly.