Locals in Nigeria’s Southern city of Uyo are gearing up for Friday’s 2018 World Cup qualification match between Nigeria and Cameroon, billed for the magnificent Godswill Akpabio Stadium in the oil-rich city. Players and coaches of both teams have inundated the sporting press with quotes, promises, and war of words ahead of the Group B game between the two fierce rivals. www.aclsports.com took to the beautiful streets of the Akwa-Ibom state capital on Thursday to feel the pulse among the residents and quite expectedly it was positive.
The city has been playing host to international matches since the opening of the Nest of Champions in 2014 and has consequently impacted the socioeconomic lives of the inhabitants. Here are some of the views shared by those our Chief Football Writer FISAYO DAIRO spoke with, including a lively Pidgin English chat with two friends:
Emmanuel Alloysius, a security operative
“Nigeria vs Cameroon tomorrow is going to be a very wonderful match because I know Cameroon will not take it easy and we will not take it easy with them. At the end of the day, they can never come to beat us in our land. We will win at the end of the day.
“I felt bad when we lost against South Africa but at the same time it was also lesson to the entire Nigerians, our coaches and players. So that they will know that whenever they wear that jersey, they are representing so many people in the country so they can work more than what we expect from them”
Would you like the games to still be coming to the Godswill Akpabio Stadium of be taken to other places?
E.A: No, no, no, no. I believe for now this is the best stadium we are having in our country right now so any other match is very free to still come here and any game that comes here, we will support them.
Ndifreke Emmanson, a transport operator
“I expect Nigeria to win the match tomorrow (Friday). I predict 2-1.
Which of the players will you be waiting to watch tomorrow?
I like every Nigerian players -sic- that’s why I love to watch their match.
These Super Eagles games, how do they affect your business?
Work will go up tomorrow, I’ve been feeling it. It has started today and that is how it is when there are matches.
So, do you like as they bring Eagles games to this city or they should take it elsewhere?
Yes I like it, I like it very well. If is good for us.
Monday Ekoyo and his fellow mince pie hawker, Okafor Frederick also spoke with us
Monday: By the grace of God we will win tomorrow. I nor know weda we go win or we nor fit, but na God go make us win. I get the assurance for my own mind.
Frederick: I believe Nigeria will win. I’m a Nigerian so I believe we will win. I nor happy as we loss against South Africa but I get hope tomorrow.
Monday: Even me sef, I nor happy for that mash (against South Africa). As I buy ticket pay #1,000 con see wetin South Africa do Nigeria, me I know happy with that my #1,000.
With wetin happin dat day, you go still watch Friday mash?
Monday: I go still watch am nah. I go still come buy ticket again, I go watch.
Frederick: Yes nah, I go watch, I like my country. I want make dem dey bring mash to Akwa-Ibom because na only dat South Africa game we loss. The Stadium dey favour us.
Friday’s game kicks off at 5pm local time and a victory for Nigeria will take them to within touching distance of a place in Russia next summer.