Handlers of Nigeria’s senior men national team have read the riot act to clubs in the country’s top division as they prepare for next year’s African Nations Championships qualifier against Benin Republic.
The Super Eagles have continued their preparations for next week’s first leg encounter in Cotonou at the Sani Abacha Stadium in the Northern commercial city of Kano.
The team of locally assembled professionals commenced training last Tuesday and were boosted by the arrival of Franco-German trainer, Gernot Rohr and his Italian goalkeeper trainer Enrico Pionetti on Monday night.
However, with the qualifiers now ten days away, handlers of the team have issued a strong message to clubs who wish their players to participate in the game.
“Players will be released to their clubs for this weekend’s NPFL matches but the coaches want the clubs to ensure the players don’t make long haul travels by road because the stress and fatigue of long road trips affect the players’ output in training, which impacts negatively on our preparations for the CHAN qualifiers,” begun the statement made available to www.aclsports.com by team’s Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye.
“So clubs that seriously want their players for this weekend’s games at league venues that are too far to access by road from Kano should endeavour to send them flight tickets or risk not having them released from camp,” the statement added.
As against the team’s training schedule of morning and evening training seasons, the team trained only once on Wednesday. This, officials say was to accord players more resting time.
“We trained this (Wednesday) morning and rested in the afternoon to help the boys recover. The long haul road travels are doing them no good,” Ibitoye told www.aclsports.com
Rangers FC quartet of Osas Okoro, Orji Kalu, Chiamaka Madu and Ifeanyi George as well as Rivers United’s Emeka Atuloma all missed Tuesday training sessions due to their late arrival following last weekend’s round of league games.
The quintet were involved in Rangers’ Match Day 32 game against Rivers United which rained out on Sunday and was concluded on Monday morning with George scoring both goals for his side in their 2-1 win.
All five players started the game with George the only one that failed to complete the entire duration.
Nigeria face Benin Republic for a spot in next year’s African Nations Championships to be staged in Kenya. The first leg comes up at the Stade de l’Amitie on the weekend of August 11 with the return leg in Kano on August 20.