Nigerians are split in their support for the national team as they prepare to face English Premier League giants Arsenal on August 5 in Abuja.
A poll by Goal.com has shown that an overwhelming 44.97 per cent of Nigerians would not mind the Gunners defeating the Super Eagles when the two teams play next month.
Should it be a worrying trend for the national team administrators and government stakeholders that Nigerians hold such huge allegiance to a foreign club?
National coach Stephen Keshi can, however, be consoled by the fact that 48.52 per cent of respondents to the poll would be supporting the Super Eagles while 6.51 per cent would be holding out for a draw.
The poll opened to the public on the web version of the site on Monday, July 2 and closed on Wednesday, July 4 with respondents representing a cross section of Nigerian football fans.
Keshi has said he would be looking to use the services of players from the Nigeria Premier League in the encounter.
“It’s another opportunity for me to see how these players can cope with a different pattern of play from some established stars like [Robin] Van Persie, [Lukas] Podolski and the rest,” Keshi has said. “It’s amazing for me and for them, I believe they will give their best during the encounter.”
The Gunners, who will be rounding up their pre-season tour of Asia and Africa, are expected to field an almost full strength squad in the friendly game. It will be the Gunners’ first time in West Africa where they have a lot of fans due to the team’s exciting play and the presence of star African players who played in the club in the past -like Nwankwo Kanu, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue.
Camerounian Alexander Song, Ivorian Gervinho and Ghanaian Emmanuel Frimpong are three of the African players in the first team squad of Arsenal at the moment.