2014WCQ: Eagles to Swoop on Walya Antelopes on Match-day

The Super Eagles are likely to arrive in Addis Ababa on match day, aboard a charter flight for the World Cup 2014 play-off against Ethiopia next month, THISDAY learnt on Tuesday.

With a fifth appearance at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in mind, Nigeria must overcome her lowly ranked adversary over two legs, to be among the 36 countries that will make the journey across the Atlantic for the global football spectacle.

On Tuesday, THISDAY scooped at the NFF secretariat in Abuja that chiefs of the football federation were working on the possibility of airlifting the Eagles and the Nigerian delegation to the Ethiopian capital on match day aboard a special flight. Secretary General of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Musa Amadu, confirmed the plan to THISDAY last night.

The Super Eagles, who early this year defeated the Walya Antelopes 2-0 at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, must deal with the problem of playing on a high altitude where breathing will be almost difficult as a result of the rarified air in the atmosphere under such condition.

Ethiopia, like most countries in East Africa is on a high altitude and will most likely be handed that advantage on October 15 when the first leg is played. Amadu hinted that Nigeria will arrive on match day and depart after the match, to insulate the team from having to acclimatize to the condition as well as the effect of the weather if they stay after the game.

Nigeria reaped from this strategy when the Eagles plucked a 2-2 draw on their trip to Ethiopia during an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on June 5, 2011. The plan also handed the Super Eagles a qualification for South Africa 2010, when they beat Kenya 3-2 in Nairobi on November 14, 2009 and repeated the feat on June 5 this year at the same venue during a World Cup qualifying fixture.

Nigeria’s coach Stephen Keshi has already named a 21-man squad for the trip to Addis Ababa. The Eagles will play the return fixture at home on November 16.