- FG Orders Civil Servants To Close By 1 pm On Tuesday To Support Super Eagles
- Offers Free Rides To Supporters As CAF Okays 60,000 Fans For Nigeria, Ghana World Cup Play-off Match
Nigeria will be hoping to qualify for her 7th FIFA world cup tournament when she hosts the Black Stars of Ghana at the majestic MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja today, March 29, 2022.
Africa’s most populous nation has qualified for six FIFA World Cup finals previously, advancing from the group stage three times (1994, 1998, and 2014), getting knocked out in the round of 16 all three times. On three occasions, the Super Eagles failed to qualify from the group stages.
On 14 November 2009, Nigeria qualified for the 2010 World Cup after defeating Kenya by 3–2 in Nairobi. Nigeria then went on to lose its opening match against Argentina 1–0 at Ellis Park Stadium following a controversial Gabriel Heinze header in the 6th minute.
In its second game, Nigeria led early on by a goal from Kalu Uche. A red card against Sani Kaita gave Greece the advantage. Greece scored the equalizer late in the first half and Nigeria conceded the second goal in the second half and lost the game 2–1.
In their last group stage match against South Korea, Nigeria took an early lead in the 12th minute off of a great finish by Kalu Uche after a low cross from Chidi Odiah.
However, goals from Lee Jung-Soo and Park Chu-Young gave South Korea a 2–1 lead, which looked to be enough for South Korea to advance into the Round of 16. However, Nigeria got a chance in the 66th minute that the Super Eagles will probably never forget.
On the end of a pass from Ayila Yussuf that was fed through the South Korean defense was none other than Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Once the pass found Yakubu’s foot about four yards away from the empty goal, Yakubu pushed the ball wide of the left post to keep South Korea ahead 2–1.
Three minutes later, Yakubu was able to calmly finish a penalty to knot the score at two apiece, but the damage was done as Nigeria was unable to score again and the match ended in a 2–2 draw. With this result, Nigeria was eliminated from the 2010 World Cup with just one point, while South Korea advanced into the round of 16 with four points.
On 30 June 2010, following the team’s early exit and poor showing, the then President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan suspended the national football team from international competition for two years.
On two other occasions, the Super Eagles failed to make it out of the group stages.
For the world cup fiesta in Qatar in 2022, the Super Eagles must overcome neighbors Ghana to qualify and Nigeria is doing all she can to ensure that Nigeria’s flag is flown at the Mondial.
The federal government has directed all ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to close by 1 pm on Tuesday ahead of the second-leg clash between the Super Eagles and Black Stars of Ghana.
In a circular on Monday, Ngozi Onwudiwe, the service welfare officer, also called for the mobilization of support for the Nigerian senior national team.
Onwudiwe added that all permanent secretaries should ensure the content of the circular is achieved as desired.
“As you are aware, the Super Eagles of Nigeria will be meeting the Black Stars of Ghana in continuation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier playoff (return leg),” the circular read.
“There is a need to mobilize support for the Nigerian Team. Consequently, I am directed to inform you that all offices will be closed at 1.00 on Tuesday, 29th March 2022.
“Permanent Secretaries are requested to give the circular wide publicity to achieve the desired effect on the result.”
Nigeria is billed to face Ghana for the return leg of their World Cup playoff at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja at 6 pm.
The first leg finished goalless at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Friday.
The winner of the tie will earn one of the five tickets for African representatives at the World Cup billed for Qatar later this year.
Also, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development will give free bus rides to fans to attend the 2022 World Cup playoff between Nigeria and Ghana on Tuesday.
This is even as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has approved full capacity for the MKO Abiola Stadium ahead of the game.
A statement by the ministry noted that the buses will be at Keffi, Auta Balefi, Masaka, Maraba, Nyanya, Orozo, Kurudu, Jikoyi, Suleja Madalla, Zuba, and DeiDei.
Other places include Kubwa, Gwagwalada, Kuje, Lugbe, Mpape, Life Camp, Eagle Square, Old Parade Ground, Area 3, Kabusa, Apo Mechanic, and Gwarinpa – all leading to the Abuja Stadium.
Before then, CAF had okayed 60, 000 spectators for the clash. This is according to the Nigeria Football Federation which also assured safety and security for the make or mar game.
In another statement, the football body said it has, alongside the sports ministry, bought 20,000 tickets for Super Eagles fans.
This is part of the moves to fill up the stands and give the Super Eagles the much-needed support for the game.
“We will buy 20,000 of the tickets and give them to fans at designated centers on Monday and Tuesday morning. We want to ensure maximum support for the Super Eagles by filling up the stands,” the NFF quoted the sports minister, Sunday Dare, to have said after a meeting of the organizing committee for the match.
“The NFF has done well to secure maximum capacity of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium for the match.”
According to the NFF 2nd Vice President, Shehu Dikko, a full house for the Super Eagles will ginger the team to get a ticket for the competition.
“It is a very big match and we need the maximum support for our team. The players have expressed a desire for a full house, just as the Ghanaians had in Kumasi,” he said. “We want to thank the Ministry for initiating this move.”
The first leg of the game ended goalless in Kumasi on Friday.
The Matrix wishes Nigeria and all Nigerians the best of luck as the country aims to realize its world cup dreams.