The Super Eagles’ scheduled flight to Saudi Arabia on September 8 has been cast in doubt by a shift backward of 24 hours for the kick-off of their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles.
The game in Victoria had initially been touted to hold on Friday, September 7, and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) consequently disclosed that the Eagles would leave the Indian Ocean archipelago nation the following day, September 8 to Saudi Arabia.
The Nigerian team are billed to be hosted in an international friendly by Saudi Arabia the following Tuesday, September 11, which means they will now have only two days of rest before the potentially explosive match in Jeddah.
However, it is now left to be seen whether the NFF would still go ahead with the earlier scheduled flight out of Victoria, Seychelles on September 8 as planned, which would mean rushing the players to the airport after the crunch AFCON 2019 qualifier same day.
A window of possibility, though, hangs in the fact that the match on September 8 will start 4:30pm local time, which means the final whistle would be at 6:15pm and the team could fly from Seychelles to Saudi Arabia later in the night for the friendly in Jeddah.
Few hours of grace have, however, been left open after the friendly match on September 11, as the Eagles’ players are billed to fly back to their respective clubs from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, September 12.
The game on September 11 should be interesting for Eagles forward Ahmed Musa who recently joined Saudi Professional League club, Al-Nassr from Leicester City of England.
The Eagles last met Saudi Arabia in a friendly encounter on May 25, 2010, which ended in a goalless draw.
Both countries participated at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia but, despite winning a game each, the two teams failed to progress from the group stage.
The Eagles have won the AFCON trophy three times while the Saudi Arabians have also won the AFC Asian Cup trophy three times.
In the last FIFA ranking the Super Eagles dropped to 49th while Saudi Arabia are ranked 70th.
Saudi Arabia have already lined up a friendly against Bolivia on Monday, September 3, after which they will play Nigeria eight days later.