By Emmanuel Afonne
The Super Eagles on Thursday trained under harsh weather in preparation for Sunday’s 2018 World Cup Qualifier against the Chipolopolo of Zambia, scheduled for Ndola.
The training which started at exactly 2 p.m. at the Practice pitch of the National Stadium Abuja lasted for about two hours.
The likes of Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa who ply their football trade in Europe sweated profusely under the supervision of team’s handler Gernot Rohr.
The players hurriedly raced into their waiting Macopolo bus to avoid a repeat of Wednesday’s incidence when fans mobbed them while struggling to catch a glimpse of them and snap photographs.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force said it took the intervention of some armed policemen to rescue the team’s captain, Mikel Obi from the mob that invaded the pitch shortly after Wednesday’s match with Plateau United FC.
Baba Abubakar, the Super Eagles Chief Security Officer in a chat with journalists at the team’s training on Thursday evening described Wednesday’s incidence as unfortunate.
Abubakar who is an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) explained that the development was a big security lapse.
“What happened on Wednesday was very unfortunate; but we have taken correction.
“I had ordered our men to securely lock the gate before the end of the match but somebody gave a counter order to allow the journalists into the pitch.
“I gave that order because I know what the fans can do; I know that their target will be the big players like Mikel.
“We were left with no other option than to direct five of our armed men to shield Mikel to the dressing room.
“Other policemen formed a shield and guided the other players out of the pitch,” Abubakar said.
Super Eagles Team Coordinator, Patrick Pascal who also spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after the team’s training on Thursday urged Nigerians to pray for them to succeed in Ndola.
Pascal allayed the fear that the harsh weather in Ndola would affect the players, noting that their training under the hot sun was strategic.
“Yes, whether will always be a problem but that is why this training is being conducted under the hot sun to ensure the players acclimatise before the match.
“From what I have seen, there is no reason for Nigerians to entertain fear on Sunday because I have the feeling that the Eagles will live up to the expectation,’’ Pascal said.
NAN reports that the Eagles are expected to depart Abuja on Saturday for the qualifier billed for Ndola, Zambia, on Sunday.
Nigeria is drawn in Group B of the qualifying series alongside Zambia, Algeria and Cameroon.