BY MONICA IHEAKAM
THE Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has shed light into the can- cellation of the proposed Monday international friendly between Super Eagles and the Stallions of Burkina Faso.
Chairman of the NFF Techni- cal and Development Committee, Chris Green, said that it became imperative to shelve the match due to visa hitches experienced by the Burkinabes.
According to Green, seven players in the Stallions squad failed to secure their entry visas into the Uinted Kingdom.
While exonerating the NFF and the organizers of the friendly from the confusion, Green assured that further plans for the Super Eagles would be announced in due course.
“The match in question is called off due to no fault of either the organizers or the Nigeria Football Federation. We will an- nounce further plans for the Super Eagles’ preparation for these two important qualifying campaigns in due course,” top NFF official Chris Green said.
“The Technical Adviser (Gernot Rohr) wanted to play very physical African teams, as part of the preparations for the World Cup qualifying matches against Cam- eroon, and we duly fulfilled that with the arrangements we made for Senegal and Burkina Faso.
“There is no British Embassy in Ouagadougou, and officials of the Federation Burkinabe de Foot- ball had been shuttling between Accra and Ouagadougou for visa processing,” the NFF explained in a statement.
“FBF (Burkina Faso Football Federation) sources said the Embassy in Accra told them last week to proceed to Morocco (where The Stallions played the Atlas Lions on Friday) and that the visas would be issued there.
“However, the applications were still pending at the British Embassy in Morocco as at close of work on Friday, the last working day before match day in London.
“The Burkinabe Football Federation – on Friday 24 March 2017 by 7pm UK time – telephoned the match organisers [Eurodata] to say some of their players and of- ficials were unable to secure entry visas into the United Kingdom and therefore would not be able to honour the match.”
The Super Eagles drew 1-1 with Senegal on Thursday night after Kelechi Iheanacho’s late penalty cancelled out Moussa Sow’s opening goal at the Hive, home of English fourth tier side Barnet.
Three-time African champions Nigeria have failed to qualify for the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The match was scheduled as part of Nigeria’s build-up for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in June and the World Cup quali- fier against Cameroon later in the year.
But under new manager Gernot Rohr, who took charge in August, the Super Eagles got off to a fly- ing start in their 2018 World Cup qualifiers, recording a 2-1 win in Zambia and a 3-1 victory at home against Algeria.
Nigeria’s six points, coupled with some surprising results in the other games, leaves them with an early four-point lead in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group ahead of Cameroon and Zambia.
Burkina Faso finished third at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and lost 2-0 to Morocco in Friday’s friendly.