All Europe-based stars of the Nigerian national team must arrive at Faro, Portugal camp on January 4 for the final round of preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. Clubs are mandated to release their players, at least, 14 days to the start of the 2013 Afcon and the NFF has threatened to report any club that fails to comply to the world football governing body, Fifa. General Secretary of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Musa Amadu said the decision of the federation to adopt a firm stance on the issue was informed by the need to give the Super Eagles the best possible preparation for the competition.
“There won’t be any problem with regard to the release of our players for the African Cup of Nations because the competition is recognised by both Caf and Fifa. Let us not also forget that Afcon is a very big tournament. In fact, it is the biggest football fiesta in Africa,” Amadu said. The NFF scribe further hinted that sanctions would be invoked through the might of Fifa on erring European clubs.
“Obviously, since it is the biggest tournament on the continent, the foreign clubs are obliged to release the players two weeks to the competition. So, as expected, by January 4, 2013, we expect the foreign-based players to report to the team’s camp in Faro, Portugal, otherwise we will employ sanctions on the players and the clubs involved,” he said. The team’s pre-Afcon camp will open in the Nigerian capital, Abuja on Sunday with home-based players expected to be the first to arrive. Amadu revealed that training would begin in earnest under the watchful eyes of Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi and his assistants.
“The preparations are in top gear. In the next one week, the camping will resume in Abuja. They will train and leave Nigeria 10 days afterwards to Faro in Portugal.
The NFF chief said that a friendly international between the Super Eagles and the Catalan selected side in Espanyol was in the pipeline. “They would travel to Barcelona in Spain, precisely on January 1 to play the Catalonia selected side on January 2, and return to Portugal the next day,” he explained.