Nigeria’s final preparations for the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations holding in Egypt begin on Sunday, when invited players, alongside the technical crew and administrative staff, will start arriving in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Nicknamed The Big Heart, Delta State has eased into the forefront as the nation’s football capital, since hosting the 2018 AITEO Cup finals and the international friendly between the Super Eagles and Uganda’s Cranes in November 2018. Since then, the Super Eagles have played Seychelles in Asaba in an AFCON qualifier and hosted Egypt in a friendly, and the city was also the setting for the U23 National Team’s thrashing of Libya in an U23 AFCON qualifier in March 2019.
On Sunday, the Eagles’ backroom staff are expected to be complete, with some players also expected, while the larger population of the playing body should hit town on Monday.
This first phase of camping will also take in a friendly match, against equally Egypt-bound Warriors of Zimbabwe, at the Stephen Keshi Stadium on Saturday, 8th June.
Players and officials will travel to the Egyptian city of Ismailia the following day aboard a chartered flight, where they will stay at the Hotel Mercure and spend a full week perfecting tactics and strategies, before taking on Africa’s number one –ranked team Senegal in another friendly in Ismailia.
On 17th January, the three –time champions will travel to Alexandria – venue of their Group B matches against Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar.
Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr had invited 25 players to the camp, with six other players – among them three home –based professionals – on standby.