Nigeria arrive in Nelspruit ahead of Afcon opener with Burkina Faso

The Super Eagles were welcomed to South Africa by a jubilant crowd of supporters on Thursday evening as they begin their tournament campaign on Monday

Nigeria’s Super Eagles arrived Nelspruit, South Africa venue of its two opening games in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations on Thursday evening.

The team left its Faro camp in Portugal on Wednesday afternoon by road to Lisbon from where the 23 players and officials led by head coach Stephen Keshi were joined by Head Of Delegation and Enyimba of Aba Chairman, Felix Anyasi Agwu. It was from there that the team caught an Air France plane to Paris, France.

From Paris, the team took another Air France Air Bus jetliner to Johannesburg, South Africa. The flight lasted 10 hours, 20minutes. On arrival in Johannesburg, the team was met by Nigerian Embassy officials and hordes of supporters who drummed away with popular Nigerian songs.

Addressing the media on arrival, Anyansi Agwu, who spoke first in Johannesburg, said the team was there to return Nigerian football to its glory days despite the relatively youthful side that Nigeria will parade at the tournament. Keshi on his part said the team will take each game as it comes, declaring that he was not under any pressure to deliver the trophy to Nigerians. “But we have our personal targets that we have set and we pray that we are able to achieve them to make Nigerians happy.

He also regretted that absence of Newcastle striker, Shola Ameobi, noting that his experience will have impacted positively on the Nigerian side. “We hope he will return when the World Cup qualifier start in March,” Keshi said.

Team Skipper Joseph Yobo, again declared that all things being equal the SA 2013 tourney should be his last. “And I want to leave the stage by winning something for the team so that those coming behind will have something to look up to. We want Nigerians to support us and know that this young team has the ability to deliver but they must be patient with us and remain behind the team at all times.”

After about three hours in Johannesburg for immigration formalities and other tournament schedule the team took a flight of 35minutes to Nelspruit and has since settled down at the Ingwenyama Sports and Resort Centre, where it will camp for the competition that starts this Saturday in Johannesburg. Nigeria’s first game will be against Burkina Faso on Monday evening.