The delegation of U23 Men National Team of Tanzania, who play Nigeria’s Olympic Eagles in a crucial U23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Ibadan on Saturday, are ensconced in Carlton Gate Hotel in the sprawling city and looking forward to having a feel of the Lekan Salami Stadium turf on Friday evening.
Both teams played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar es Salaam on Saturday last week, and goals are needed to separate them and determine which side goes ahead to face the winner of the fixture between Uganda and Guinea in the ultimate round before the continental finals slated for Morocco in 13 months’ time.
Match officials from Togo have also arrived, as all arrangements have been concluded by the Nigeria Football Federation, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Oyo State Government for the big match.
A goal in each half, from the spot and in opposite directions, was the account of the first leg, and Head Coach Salisu Yusuf says his boys are primed for a decisive victory when the whistle goes for kick-off at 4pm on Saturday.
“We went to Tanzania to win but it was just not possible. The boys really worked hard and I must commend them for their effots. However, we have been working hard on our weak points and believe we will get the job done on Saturday.
“The entire team is happy with the hospitality from the Oyo State Government. We are happy to be able to focus entirely on the match without any distractions.”
The Confederation of African Football has appointed Togolese official Aklesso Gnama as match referee, with his compatriots Komlan Domenyo Adiwotso, Jonathan Koffi Ahonto and Komlanvi Aklassou in the roles of assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and reserve referee respectively.
Mr. Alim Konate Aboubakar from Cameroon will serve as match commissioner with Bechir Hassani from Tunisia in the role of referee assessor.