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Super Eagles upbeat despite Johannesburg’s high altitude, depart from Benin City

By Gowon Akpodonor and Alex Monye
15 November 2018   |   4:01 am
Super Eagles players say they are ready to face any challenge that comes their way in the Cameroun 2019 Africa Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifier against Bafana Bafana in South Africa this weekend...

Super Eagles training session Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba

Super Eagles players say they are ready to face any challenge that comes their way in the Cameroon 2019 Africa Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifier against Bafana Bafana in South Africa this weekend.

The team will leave for South Africa by 5.00 p.m. today through the Benin airport on a chartered flight.

Super Eagles’ Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye told The Guardian that the team have been working hard twice daily since Tuesday in their bid to be ready for whatever the South Africans would throw at them on Saturday.

He dismissed the fear in some quarters that South Africa’s high altitude would affect the Eagles’ performance, saying the players have prepared adequately for the weather.

He said, “The players in camp are experienced enough to handle any issue that will affect their performance. They will travel from Asaba by road to Benin to board their flight to South Africa because the Asaba airport is not big enough for the aircraft.

“The Super Eagles will have their first training in South Africa on Friday morning and all arrangements have been put in place to ensure Nigeria’s success in the encounter.”

He revealed that the only player not in camp yet, Samuel Kalu, was delayed by his inability to secure South African visa on time, adding that the Bordeaux star was expected to join the team later yesterday.

Also speaking on the game, Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, is sure the team will secure their ticket to Cameroun after Saturday’s match.
Rohr told yesterday, “Our mission in Johannesburg is simple: qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations. We are not thinking of anything else. We want the ticket in our pocket before the final matchday.”

History beckons as Nigeria’s two senior national teams, Super Eagles and Super Falcons, confront their South African counterparts this weekend.

The Super Falcons will battle against the Banyana Banyana on Sunday in the 2018 Africa Women’s Nations Cup in Cape Coast, Ghana.

Former coach of the Super Falcons, Godwin Izilien, says both the Super Eagles and Super Falcons have what it takes to triumph in the double assault against the rainbow nation.

In Johannesburg, Rohr and his boys need to avenge the 0-2 defeat, which Nigeria suffered in the hands of South Africa when both teams met last year in the Cameroun 2019 AFCON qualifiers.

On their part, the Super Falcons need to beat the highly improved Banyana Banyana in their Group B opener in Cape Coast to begin the defence of their AWC title on good note in Ghana.

In their last outing, the Falcons, under coach Florence Omagbemi, had to dig deep to secure a 1-0 victory in the semifinal during the 2016 AWC in Limbe, Cameroun, with Desire Oparanozie providing for the goal.

The Falcons had defeated the Banyana Banyana 2-1 also in their semifinal clash during the 2014 edition of the AWC at the Nojuma Stadium in Windhoek, Namibia.

This time around, Izilien, who led the Falcons to win the 2006 edition of the AWC in Johannesburg, told The Guardian yesterday that the quality of players in the Nigerian team would see them triumph over South Africa.

“This is history in the making for both the Super Eagles and Super Falcons, and I can stick my neck on both teams because the Super Falcons have a squad that is capable of retaining the AWC title, unless the handlers mismanage the team.

The Super Eagles coaches have equally assembled the best legs for the crucial tie against South Africa. I am sure the Eagles won’t allow Bafana Bafana to beat them twice.

The cash motivation by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State will equally motivate the Super Eagles to get the job done in Johannesburg,” Izilien stated.