A dinner party planned for the victorious Super Eagles on Monday night after the 6-1 defeat of Tahiti in their FIFA Confederation Cup match was cancelled at the instance of FIFA.
A PANA report late Tuesday said that the team was billed to have the dinner at Restaurant Atelier in Savassi centre in Belo Horizonte but FIFA officials, citing security reasons, prevented the Nigerian players from leaving their hotel at Belvedere. The FIFA security officials based their decision on the street protests in Belo Horizonte and some other parts of Brazil.
One of the organisers of the dinner, Olusegun Akinruli, lamented the turn of events.
He said, “It is sad, but we have to understand the concerns of FIFA. We would have loved to celebrate the victory with guests of Nigerian roots.”
Eagles are up against Uruguay Thursday night in their second Group match and Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi says they are ready to take on any team now.
“We’re on a good swing and the mood is great,” Keshi said in Salvador on Wednesday. “There’s nothing to be apprehensive about. We have no injury worries and the boys will simply go in there and give their best for country and continent.”
Victory over Uruguay will lift Nigeria to six points and a place in the semi finals, ahead of the game against Spain in Fortaleza on Sunday.
As Nigerians say they are set, the Uruguayans are also targeting a semi-final berth. One of their star players Diego Forlan, is poised to win his 100th cap as Uruguay, with their backs to the wall after losing their opener to Spain, face Nigeria.
“We absolutely must win to have the chance of going further in the Cup,” Forlan told Reuters on Wednesday.
“They won the match they had to win, scored lots of goals and even a draw will be better for them than us,” said the 34-year-old striker, best player at the 2010 World Cup.
“Nigeria have good players, many play in Europe, they are physically strong, it won’t be at all easy, it will be a hard match,” added Forlan, who will also be looking to add to his Uruguay tally of 33 goals.
Copa America holders Uruguay lost 2-1 to world champions Spain in their opener on Sunday with Forlan coming on as a 69th-minute substitute.
A draw could leave Uruguay needing a big-scoring win in their last match against Tahiti and a Spanish win over Nigeria on Sunday to stand any chance of a place in the semi-finals.