It’s your chance to shine, Adelabu tells home-based Eagles
• Nigeria Tackles Mexico In Los Angeles
As the Super Eagles of Nigeria confront their Mexican counterparts in a friendly match in Los Angeles, U.S., former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu has urged the home-based players to capitalise on the opportunity to launch themselves to limelight.
The match, which will hold at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, simply known as LA Coliseum, will see the Super Eagles parade players who feature for clubs in the domestic league. It will kick off at 8.00 p.m. Los Angeles time today (4am in Nigeria on Sunday).
This will be the sixth confrontation between Nigeria and Mexico at the senior level. Four of their previous matches have ended in draws. The only win in the series, 2-1 has gone to Mexico at a US Gold Cup encounter in Dallas on June 24 1995.
Nigerian delegation of 22 home-based players and a number of officials, including NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday. President of the NFF and FIFA Council Member, Amaju Pinnick, who honoured an invite by the Government of the State of Maryland in Baltimore on Wednesday, was expected to join up with the contingent in Los Angeles yesterday.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Adelabu, who played club football with the then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan, said the home-based Eagles should use this game against Mexico to prove to the entire world, particularly coach Gernot Rohr, that talents abound in the Nigerian local league.
“I am glad our local players now have an opportunity to showcase their talent, and I expect them to seize this opportunity to prove their doubters wrong,” Adelabu said. “They have been watching what has been happening to the big teams in the on-going EURO Championship, and I don’t expect our players to be afraid of Mexico. If they failed woefully in this match, the coaches will have no choice than to ignore them in our future matches.”
Adelabu urged NFF Technical Director, Austin Eguaveon, who is leading the team, to apply what he described as ‘sports science’ in this encounter against Mexico.
Organisers expect a full house at the 77,500- capacity LA Coliseum in the early hours of tomorrow, which would make it the most-attended game globally since the restrictions that followed COVID-19 pandemic last year.
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goalkeeper, Joshua Oluwayemi, who was drafted in to replace injured goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, was expected in the team hotel in Los Angeles yesterday.
Those who made the trip include Enyimba goalkeeper John Noble and Lobi Stars’ Stanley Nwabali. Others are defenders Olisa Ndah (Akwa United); Adekunle Adeleke (Abia Warriors); Tope Olusesi (Rangers); Enyinnaya Kazie (Rivers United); Imoh Obot (Enyimba FC); Tebo Franklin Degaulle (Nasarawa United); Lawal Oriyomi Murtala (Kwara United).
Midfielders: Anthony Shimaga (Rangers); Seth Mayi (Akwa United); Uche Onwuasonaya (Plateau United); Ibrahim Olawoyin (Rangers); Anayo Iwuala (Enyimba FC).
Forwards: Stephen Jude (Kwara United); Charles Ashimene (Akwa United);
Chinonso Ezekwe (Rangers); Auwalu Ali Malam (Kano Pillars); Neurot Emmanuel (Plateau United); Abdulmutalif Sanusi
(Katsina United); Mohammed Zulkifilu (Plateau United); Sunday Adetunji (Rivers United).