With 88 days to the kick-off of the 34th edition of the Africa’s premier sports competition, the Africa Cup of Nations, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo has assured that the Super Eagles will not be lacking in support at the event.
The tournament will be like a home duel for the team, despite being grouped with the hosts, Cote d’Ivoire according to the PG.
“Afcon 2023 in Cote d’Ivoire is a national project. Everything possible is being done to see that out team do well”, he remarked.
“To this end, the Nigeria Football Supporters Club is putting in place a plan to actualise this onerous task.”
He pointed that going to Cote d’Ivoire will be like home-coming for him and his brand of football supporters. “It will be recalled that we launched the first international chapter in 1992 in Cote d’Ivoire.
Afcon 2023 in Cote D’Ivoire is a national project, says Dr. Rafiu Ladipo
According to him, other international chapters have been launched in Ghana, The Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger Republic. He said that the proximity of Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso to Cote d’Ivoire has helped him in raising at least 3,000 supporters who will be backing the Super Eagles at AFCON.
He said that the co-ordinator of the Cote d’Ivoire chapters is Sunday Alabi Adeyemi who has been liaising with the Nigeria Embassy in Abidjan.
“At the moment, he is getting hotel accommodation ready for the members and also exploring the options of getting school hostel just as we did at Ghana 2008 AFCON.”
Dr. Ladipo said that it was the formation of the international chapters that got him the title ‘President- General Worldwide;. He said said that Cote d’Ivoire alone has eight chapters if the Nigeria Football Supporters Club and that the popularity of his team cuts across different national frontiers to the point that they were adjudged the best supporters club at the USA ‘94 World Cup.
Apart from the 3,000 projected supporters from the international chapters, he pointed out that an additional 1,000 members will also join them from Nigeria.
According to Dr. Ladipo, a logistic meeting has been fixed for Thursday where plans will also be examined on whether some members can travel by sea to Cote d’Ivoire.
“Owing to cost of flight tickets, only few of us will be able to fly to Abidjan. Others will go by road on our buses and those of transport companies that we have contacted.
“In addition, we are exploring sea travel too”, Ladipo said. He pointed out that the 66-year experience of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club will come into play even as his band is reaching out to the others football supporters groups in the country so that Nigerians will be in Abidjan as a unit.
“We need to be in Cote d’Ivoire together and back the Super Eagles as an entity. What binds us together should be stronger than our individual differences”, Ladipo said as he plans to reach out to other groups.