From Romanus Ugwu, St Petersburg
Miffed by the embarrassing poor turnout of Nigerian fans during the Nigeria and Croatia opening Group B clash in the ongoing Russia FIFA World Cup, the leaders of the Nigeria delegation have concluded arrangements to mobilise Nigerians in every part of the country to provide support for the team during the crucial encounter against Iceland on Friday in Volgograd.
A source who spoke to Daily Sunsports in confidence in St Petersburg revealed that the NFF will procure match tickets for the over 500 Nigerians resident in St Petersburg and other 1,000 Nigerians living in the Russian capital city of Moscow to storm Volgograd to cheer up the and avoid repeat of the Kaliningrad experience.
Our source, who has lived in St Petersburg for over 30 years, expressed anger that little or no plans was made to match the arrangements by the Croatian Football Association that bought over 20,000 tickets.
He revealed that the Croatian Football Association bought and distributed the over 20,000 tickets freely to their fans, adding that they equally bankrolled the about 10 hours journey from Belgrade to Kaliningrad and returned immediately after the game.
“I think we did not just tidied up the arrangements very well because it was embarrassing that we could not mobilise Nigerians for that game.
“The population of Nigerians living in St Petersburg number over 400 and we have over 1,000 others Nigerians living in Moscow and these people are ready to cheer their national team to victory but they could not access the match tickets. “In fact, Nigerians in Russia were surprised that while Croatia bought tickets for their fans, they were allowed to procure their own tickets for the game.
“I agree that Croatia has the advantage due to their proximity to Russia, but if we had at least mobilized the ones we have on ground, it would have gone a long way to help.
“Honestly, if we have about 1,400 Nigerian fans in one area of the stadium during that match, they would have motivated the team to approach the game with courage. For the players, playing without their fans was like playing an away game,” he argued.