Nigeria’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Malawi in September will be played in Calabar, not Kaduna or Abuja, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF has exclusively revealed.
Calabar has hosted the Super Eagles’ last two 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Namibia and Kenya but reports had been rife in recent days, that Kaduna and even Abuja could be given the nod to host September’s crucial qualifying game.
Nigeria’s domestically-based professionals had faced the Ivory Coast in a 2014 African Nations Championships, CHAN qualifying game on 7 July in Kaduna without any incident.
An NFF official disclosed immediately after the CHAN qualifier, hinted that the Federation could settle for Kaduna as venue for September’s game as it would be more favourable for the football governing body especially in the area of cutting costs/overheads.
However, Executive Committee member of the NFF, Barrister Chris Green has now categorically declared that Calabar has been selected as venue for the game.
“The game against Malawi will be played in Calabar on 7 September. It will kick off at 4pm,” Green said.
The Cross River State Government (Calabar is the capital city of the state) has reacted positively to the announcement.
Commissioner for Sports in Cross River, Patrick Ugbe said the state would be keen to play host to the African champions in September.
“The last game we played here (2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kenya on 23 March) shows that Calabar is the real home of the Super Eagles.
“The Super Eagles were down by a goal till the latter stages when we equalised but even while we were chasing the game, no fan booed the team or threw missiles on the pitch.
“We are not surprised because Calabar is the home of football in Nigeria and the people here are quite passionate about their football,” he said.
Nigeria currently lead Group F of 2014 Africa zone World Cup qualifying with nine points from five matches.
Malawi sit in second place with seven points from five matches.
Source: PM News
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