Monday, February 26, 2024

A Nigerian National Football Team Returns To Lekan Salami Stadium After 33 Years

Dateline: Ibadan, 10 June 1989. Super Eagles line-up to face Cameroon at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba.

Only once has a Nigerian football team played a competitive match at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan.

That was 10 June 1989 when the Super Eagles beat Cameroon 2-0 in an Italia’90 World Cup qualifier.

hirty three years later, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games’ seeking Nigeria u-23 side will open their qualifying quest at the Ibadan Stadium, the home base of Shooting Stars. 

The only other match that the Super Eagles played at the Adamasingba stadium was a friendly duel with Georgia on 11June 1994 as a farewell game as the team was departing for their first World Cup adventure in the US. Now, international match is returning to the arena. 

According to a media release by the Nigeria Football Federation, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has secured a camping base for the U23 men national team, otherwise known as Olympic Eagles, ahead of the team’s Africa U23 Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against their Tanzanian counterparts this month.

Camping and prosecution of qualifying campaigns and tournaments of the U23 men and women teams for the Olympic Games and the African Games fall within the ambit of the Youth and Sports Development Ministry, but President of NFF,  Ibrahim Musa Gusau on Friday commended the Ministry for securing the camp as it will aid the preparation of the Olympic Eagles for their qualifying campaign.

Tanzania will host the first leg of the fixture in the weekend of 21st – 23rd October, with the return leg due in Nigeria on Saturday, 29th October.

The NFF has already scheduled the return leg for the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan.

Head Coach Salisu Yusuf has invited 32 players who will resume camping in the Oyo State capital this weekend.

Nigeria won the Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Senegal in 2015, and then went ahead to win the bronze medal at the Olympic Men’s Football Tournament in Brazil the following year.

However, the class of 2019 failed to reach the knockout rounds in Egypt and thus could not earn a slot at the Olympics in Tokyo last year.

Nigeria won gold at the Olympic Men’s Football Tournament in Atlanta, USA in 1996 and followed up with silver in Beijing, China 12 years later.

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