The Super Eagles contingent flew into chilly London on Saturday and trained at The Hive (home ground of Barnet FC and London Bees) on Sunday morning, as countdown began for Tuesday’s international friendly with the Serbia National Team at the same venue.
Tuesday will be four days on a year that the Eagles battled to a 1-1 draw with Senegal’s Teranga Lions at the same venue, in a friendly in which the Nigerians matched the taller and stronger Senegalese in all departments, with Kelechi Iheanacho equalizing from the penalty spot minutes to the end.
Both the Eagles and the Lions are going to the World Cup in Russia as two of Africa’s five flagbearers.
Just like Friday’s opposition in Wroclaw, the three-time African champions will be up against another Russia 2018 World Cup-bound squad, but this time, with more playing personnel, following the arrival of strikers Junior Ajayi and Gabriel Okechukwu, and midfielder Mikel Agu. Agu was called up owing to the inability of captain Mikel John Obi to travel from China. Midfield workhorse Oghenekaro Etebo, nursing an injury, watched from the sidelines.
The squad of 26 players and technical and backroom staff are staying at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Ealing.
Following Sunday’s morning training session, Nigeria will hold a pre-match press conference at The Amber Suite of The Hive at 6pm on Monday, 26th March.
Victor Moses scored from the penalty after being clipped on his way to goal to give Nigeria victory over world number 6 Poland at Wroclaw’s Stadion Miejski on Friday, affording the Super Eagles a splendid start to their FIFA World Cup build –up.
At the World Cup finals in Russia, Serbia will play five-time champions Brazil, Switzerland and Costa Rica in Group E, while the Eagles battle Croatia, Iceland and Argentina.
Serbia are ranked 34 in the world by FIFA (18 places above Nigeria), but the Eagles have become accustomed to tearing apart paper ratings and bookmakers’ odds, as they did in dismantling Cameroon, Algeria and Zambia in the African qualifying series.