Super Eagles’ players on Tuesday rhapsodized about the new, improved turf of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja as they intensified preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 playoff fixture against the Black Stars of Ghana.
At their first training session ahead of the two big games, captain Ahmed Musa, deputy captain William Ekong, defender Abdullahi Shehu and forwards Odion Ighalo and Victor Osimhen expressed delight with the turn-around of the turf and admitted it enabled the team to roll the ball the way they wanted.
Musa told thenff.com: “The turf is looking and feeling really nice and wonderful. I want to thank the Honourable Minister and the Ministry officials for a job well.”
“This turf is excellent; it is among the best that I have seen anywhere,” defender Abdullahi Shehu said after Tuesday night’s training session under floodlights. “We are pleased with what we are seeing and it is a positive development.”
On his part, forward Odion Ighalo said: “Ah, I am excited with the feel of the turf. There is nothing to complain about,” while Ekong added: “This is really nice. The turf feels good and we are happy that our request for the turf to be put in great shape was heeded by the Sports Ministry.”
Forward Victor Osimhen also commended the playing pitch. “I love it. It is really nice and it allows the ball to roll very well.”
During a hybrid meeting (physical and virtual) with the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare and top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation last month, the players had specifically requested that the turf of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium be put in great shape for the World Cup playoff tango with the Black Stars.
There and then, the Sports Minister set machinery to work and the result is an excellent playing turf that is the pride of all today.
Nigeria host Ghana at the country’s premium sports facility on Tuesday next week, in what is the final leg of a playoff to determine one of Africa’s tickets to the 22nd FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar, holding 14th November – 18th December this year.