Monday, December 9, 2013
Tedious Travel Schedules Await Eagles in Brazil
going to play their first game of the 2014 World Cup against Iran as
reported by THISDAY mONday, there is also the fear that tedious travel
arrangements pose a threat to the ambition of the African champions in
The mostly Europe-based Nigerian internationals who are used to the
luxury of flying short distances in their respective bases will be
subjected to grueling trip of over 1,700 kilometres from Curitiba
after playing Iran to Cuiaba where they will take on
Bosnia-Herzegovina five days later.
The trip to Porto Alegre where the Eagles will play Argentina in their
last Group F match appears to pose the most threat to the Super Eagles
as they will travel 2,145 kilometres from Cuiabá to Porto Alegre which
is close to Uruguay in the geographical situation of the host country
in South America. It is also the coldest of all the venues.
In all, the Super Eagles will be expected to cover a distance of 3,871
kilometres for their group games alone.
A Nigerian formerly resident in Brazil, Anthony Oyedele told THISDAY
yesterday that the senior national team will not find moving around a
piece of cake.
"I lived in Brazil for over ten years and so can tell you that Eagles
must brace up for tedious journeys around the country. Cuiabá to Porto
Alegre is not like Lagos to Maiduguri. It is a tedious journey that
can be tiring if one is not used to flying long hours," observed
Oyedele who has been back in Nigeria for over four years and is now a
travel and tour operator.
In 2010, the Nigerian team covered just 950 kilometres for their three
group games against Argentina, Greece and South Korea in Johannesburg,
Bloemfontein and Durban respectively.
Super Eagles Africa Cup of Nations hero, Sunday Mba, acknowledges in
Supersport.com that the trips in Brazil will be grueling but does not
believe it will adversely affect the players.
"We players are used to such things and I can tell you that when you
play at the World Cup, you don't really worry about these types of
things. Also, we are not the only team that will travel for long
distances at the tournament so it's really not such a big deal,"
observed the former Warri Wolves player.
Former England Manager, Steve McLaren, is however on a different
wavelength with Mba.
McLaren, who was assistant to Sven Goran Eriksson as the Three Lions
lost to Brazil in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, blamed
exhaustion from extensive travel from Nigata (venue of the round of 16
game against Denmark) to Shizuoka (where Brazil beat England 2-1 in
the quarterfinals) as the major reason for their premature elimination
from the tournament.
"The players were absolutely knackered when we arrived in Shizuoka. It
took us four days to complete the trip with some of the journey done
via train. Even when we played against 10 men, we just didn't have the
stamina to win that game," he told Skysports News.
The Super Eagles have never gone beyond the second round of a World Cup.