On September 7, 2013, U J Esuene Stadium in Calabar is expected to be filled with green and white color of Nigerian flag. Nigeria Football Supporters Club is mobilizing 15, 000 fans to fill the 18, 000 capacity stadium hosting the world cup qualifier match between Super Eagle of Nigeria Vs Flames of Malawi. 

Rafiu Ladipo,  Extreme right
Rafiu Ladipo, chairman, Nigeria Football Supporters Club said, “It’s a crucial world cup qualifier, the last group game for Super Eagles, and Nigerians aren’t taking anything to chance”.” Even if you’re not a football fan, but you are a citizen of Nigeria staying in or around Calabar, we urge you to come out and let us all support Super Eagles to victory. When you’re coming, remember to put on green or white T-shirt. Though, we’ve made plan for Super Eagles replica jersey as well as Nigerian flag to be sold at a minimal price in the stadium.” Ladipo explained.

“5, 000 of our members will be coming from Lagos and another 2, 000 from our chapter in Abuja. We expect 8, 000 supporters to come from Calabar and nearby cities such as, Enugu, Owerri, Aba, Port Harcourt and Uyo. We’ve contacted the supporters club of Enugu Rangers, Heartland, Sharks, Akwa United and they would be coming in full force.” Ladipo further explained.

 It may be too much of an intimidation for a football meadow like Malawi. Some analysts felt there’s no need to embark on such mobilization. Boniface Ukot, a stadium manager in Calabar said, “Nigeria is currently topping the group table with 9 points as against Malawi’s 8 points. And Nigeria only needs a draw to move to the next stage of the world cup qualifier. Mobilizing such large supporters against Malawi is like killing a fly with a sledge hammer.”

“The flames of Malawi isn’t that a match for Super Eagles of Nigeria, especially if you consider current form and the caliber pf players Stephen Keshi has invited for the encounter: Shola Ameobi (Newcastle), Mikel Obi (Chelsea), Victor Moses (Liverpool), Eddy Onazi (Lazio) and Emmanuel Emernike, who was the highest goal scorer at 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON); it may be very difficult for Malawians to escape massive defeat in Calabar.” Ukot predicted with so much optimism.

UJ Esuene Stadium has become a kind of slaughter ground for Super Eagles and no visiting team is likely to escape defeat. Although in the last game here, in a world cup qualifier match against Kenya, the Harambee stars nearly ran away with a victory, except for Oduamadi’s last minute goal that saved the day. The flames of Malawi are banking on such vulnerability to humble the Super Eagles at home.

Tom Saintfiet

Tom Saintfiet, the Belgium tactician in charge of the Malawian team, is planning to take ‘a pound of flesh’ after being disgraced out of an appointment as Nigeria’s technical director. Saintfiet boasted that he doesn’t need $10, 000 bonus to defeat Nigeria, but protested that Calabar isn’t a safe place for his team. Well, many Nigerian football analysts took the statement with a pinch of salt. Omar Akatugba said, “The Malawian coach is only playing a mind game. He’s trying to make jest of Super Eagles strike action in Windhoek last June. Where the players demanded that NFF pay them $10, 000 bonus before they will travel to Brazil for the confederations cup.”

The last time both teams met in June 2012, Malawi only managed to secure a draw at the ending minutes of the game. But it may be a different ball game in Calabar. You may recall that Nigeria is the current African champions and just recently, the team won the Mandela challenge trophy by defeating Bafana-Bafana in South Africa.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.