…Army denies restricting movement in Maiduguri***
Team captain Ahmed Musa and 21 other players trained at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Tuesday evening.
The Super Eagles by the training stepped into gear for Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying battle against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Johannesburg.
According to a statement by Ademola Olajire, the Director of Communications, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), there were goalkeepers Daniel Akpeyi, Theophilus Afelokhai and Ikechukwu Ezenwa at the training.
“At the training, we also had defenders Olaoluwa Aina, Adeleye Aniyikaye, Semi Ajayi, Bryan Idowu, William Ekong, Leon Balogun, Kenneth Omeruo and Jamilu Collins.
“There were also midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu and Mikel Agu, and forwards Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Victor Osimhen, Henry Onyekuru, Alex Iwobi, Isaac Success and Samuel Chukwueze.
“Only France-based forward Samuel Kalu is expected on Wednesday,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria need just one point from Saturday’s encounter inside the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg to be sure of a ticket.
On Match Day 1 of the qualifying series, South Africa won 2-0 with goals from Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau right inside the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
However, the defeat, the first-ever loss to South Africa in a competitive match, stirred the formidable spirit in the Eagles.
They went on to sweep all before them to earn a 2018 FIFA World Cup ticket with a match to spare.
Also, since the 2019 AFCON qualifiers resumed in September, Nigeria has won all three matches to stand at the door of qualification with a match to spare.
Nigeria’s delegation to Saturday’s big match will depart the country aboard a chartered flight from the Benin City Airport on Thursday evening.
In the meantime, the Nigerian Army on Wednesday dismissed as ‘false’, social media reports that it had imposed a restriction of movement in Maiduguri.
Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 7 Division, Col. Kingsley Samuel, made the clarifications in a statement issued in Maiduguri.
Samuel said that the military did not enforce the restriction on travellers, adding that the report was mischievous and designed to cause a breach of peace in the state.
“The attention of the Nigerian Army, 7 Division, has been drawn to the circulation on social media of a purported travel time restrictions on travellers in Maiduguri.
“The statement is completely false and clearly a mischief intended to misinform, cause disaffection and breach of peace. At no time such statement was issued by anyone on travel time restrictions.
“For the avoidance of doubt, members of the public are please informed that there is no travel time restriction of any kind emanating from 7 Division,” he said.
While calling on the people to be law-abiding and go about their lawful businesses, Samuel urged them to provide useful information to security agencies to enable them to counter-insurgency and other sundry crimes.