Just as the Super Eagles are heading to Tanzania for a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in a chartered aircraft, and will return in the same aircraft immediately after the match in Dar es Salaam, African champions Cote d’Ivoire have announced that their ‘Elephants’ will fly into and out of Port Harcourt aboard a chartered airplane.
Thenff.com learnt on Tuesday evening that the Elephants, who defeated Ghana’s Black Stars to lift only their second continental title in Equatorial Guinea earlier in the year, are excited about coming into Nigeria’s oil –rich city.
Augustin Sidy Diallo, president of the Federation Ivoirienne de Football (FIF), confirmed on Tuesday that the Elephants’ delegation would hit the Rivers State capital on Friday morning.
Sunday’s match at the Adokiye Amiesiamaka Stadium is the first time Nigeria is hosting a competitive international involving two other countries. The Elephants and Leone Stars will kick off at 4pm.
It was also gathered that the Seirra Leone delegation of 33 persons, led by president of the Sierra Leone Football Association, Isha Johansen, will fly into Port Harcourt on Wednesday evening aboard an ARIK Air plane.
It can be recalled that Port Harcourt hosted Nigeria’s home matches in the successful campaign for a place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals, and recently played host to the U-23 National Team in its successful campaign against Congo-Brazzaville for a place at the 2015 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations.
Coach Michel Dussuyer will miss the services of African Player of the Year Yaya Toure, and has also omitted Cheick Tiote, Siaka Tiene and Lacina Traore. But there are still plenty of eminent ‘Elephants’ in goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohou, defenders Serge Aurier, Mamadou Bagayoko and Adama Traore, midfielders Ismael Diomande, Serey Die, Serge N’Guessan and forwards Seydou Doumbia, Gervinho, Max Gradel, Giovanni Sio and Salomon Kalou.