The reported attack on the Nigerian U23 team in Kumasi on Saturday has been described as an isolated incident by a Nigerian journalist covering the All Africa Games qualifier between Nigeria and Ghana.
Pic: Terna Suswam
Deji Adegbenro who is in Kumasi for the game told naijafootball247.com that Ghanaians are very friendly people and should not be judged on the strength of the incident that occurred on Saturday.
“I believe it was an isolated incident as Ghanaians have no reason to attack Nigerians before a game.
“I attribute it to the workings of a few disgruntled trouble makers and I have to tell you that as soon as word of it came out, security was beefed around the Nigerian team,” Adegbenro said.
On the rejection of the hotel provided for the Nigerian team by the Ghana FA, Adegbenro said he saw it as mind games.
Ghana provided the Ceeta Kel Hotel but the Nigerian Federation decided to use the Sports Hotel, which is just opposite the Baba Yara Stadium, venue of the clash.
“There is not much difference between the two hotels so it may just be mind games.
“Then again there is a political conference at Suyani, a town close to Kumasi so most of the hotels here have been booked by politicians so it is difficult to get the very best at this time.
“However, the Nigerians may have been bothered by the fact that the Ghanaian team are at the Golden Tulip which is one of the best hotels around and may have wanted the same gesture extended to them.”
The Nigerian team in itself are said to be ready for the challenge, except of course, Ibok Edet who is ineligible to play but the incompetent Nigeria Football Federation officials did not know he had two yellow cards before this game and as such was due a one match suspension.
“The boys are brimming with confidence and ready to go. The Nigerian ambassador to Ghana, Musiliu Obanikoro also visited the team and assured them that the embassy would do all in its power to ensure they are comfortable in Kumasi,” our man on the ground said.
“Ibok Edet is however disappointed he cannot play but is confident his team mates will do the business in his absence.
“I suspect that either of Festus Austin of Dolphins or Emma Anyanwu of Enyimba will pair Kinglsey Udoh in central defence in the absence of Edet.2
The Nigerian team had no idea Ibok Edet was ineligible to play the game as a result of having been booked twice until the pre-match meeting on Saturday night when the Match Commissioner made it known to them.
Nigeria won the first leg 3-1 and need to avoid losing by two clear goals to qualify for the All Africa Games.