Nigeria’s Minister for Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick were ad-hoc footballers on Thursday night as they joined the senior national team; the Super Eagles in their final training session ahead of Friday’s encounter with Sierra Leone.
The two West African Nations will meet for the fifteenth time in their history, this time in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier (AFCON2021Q) at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
The Super Eagles will be playing in Benin City for the first time in nine years and after hosting Edo State deputy Governor Philip Shaibu in their training session on Wednesday, head coach Gernot Rohr extended same gesture to Messrs Dare and Pinnick on Thursday.
After both men had spoken to the players and officials upon their arrival to the Stadium, offering words of motivation and admonishing; the Minister, dressed in an old Nike (NAIJA) kit and black/white sneakers was asked by Rohr (according to ACLSports sources) to join the team in loosening up.
Honourable Minister @SundayDareSD joins the Super Eagles in loosening up ahead of Friday's qualification game against Sierra Leone, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City. pic.twitter.com/fkdYs8euYl— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) November 12, 2020
After the conclusion of the loosening up session, Dare joined the team in a rondo session. On seeing that, Pinnick then joined the group of the rondo participants which included Stars like team captain Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi, Abdullahi Shehu, Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho and the Honourable Minister.
The Rondo session lasted for about ten minutes before men of the press excused the team at the expiry of their fifteen minutes allotted to cover the final training session.
Our very own @FisayoDairo with the latest from the @NGSuperEagles camp in Benin ahead of the #AFCON2022Q. #YourSportsMemo has you covered for all the important details, including two 'new players' who trained with the Eagles today. 😁 pic.twitter.com/zmN2RCpm22— ACLSports (@acl_sports) November 12, 2020
Edo State deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu later arrived the stadium, fully kitted in identical NIKE kits as Dare and Pinnick but we cannot ascertain whether or not he joined the team in training for a second consecutive evening.
The Super Eagles can wrap up qualification for the next AFCON tournament if they can win both games of this double header clash with Sierra Leone.
The first installment comes up in Benin at 5pm local time on Friday while he second meeting takes centre stage in Freetown, Sierra Leone on Tuesday.
Fisayo Dairo, reporting from Benin City