BY KUNLE SOLAJA
Ahead of Saturday’s crucial World Cup qualifier with the Super Eagles, the Malawians have made a dramatic u-turn, hailing Calabar as a good venue and commending the warm hospitality that their advance delegation got from the NFF officials.
According to Nyasa Times, a Malawian newspaper, this is in contrast to the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) fears about Nigeria and Nigerians. The newspaper reported that the FAM’s General Secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda who came to Nigeria earlier in the week with Christopher Mdolo as an advance party to check the facilities for the match remarked that the Nigerian officials accorded them a warm reception.
In a media release by Nyirenda on Tuesday, he revealed that his delegation was well received in Abuja and in Calabar and was given the chance to inspect the stadium and some hotels in Calabar.
At the end, the Malawians settled for Dannic Hotel, which they claimed was 10 minutes drive to the stadium. “The NFF welcomed us well in Abuja as well as in Calabar. We inspected some hotels in Calabar and we settled for Dannic Hotel. The hotel is new and resembles the Golden Peacock in Lilongwe and it is generally a good hotel”, the newspaper quoted Nyirenda as saying.
Contrary to their expectations Nyirenda confessed that the Nigeria Football Federation has been supportive.
“NFF has provided every support required and they are no stone unturned in making sure that all is set for the game. Everyone in Calabar is talking about the game and the game fever is so high here” reads the statement issued by the Malawi football association.
The Flames advance party will today inspect the training venue and then attend a preparatory meeting to be conducted by the NFF.
Nyirenda is optimistic that the Flames would find the weather favourable since its rainy season in Nigeria.
“In terms of weather, it has been showering this afternoon as we are still in the rainy season in Nigeria. It is generally cool and I think our players will like the weather,’ he said.
The Flames of Malawi who are in Botswana for a friendly game are expected to leave today for Accra Ghana and then connect to Calabar on tomorrow.