The Nigerian national football team, Super Eagles, have yet to arrive in Brazil, 24 hours to their crucial Group B encounter with Tahiti, in Belo Horizonte at the 2013 FIFA Confederation Cup.
Agitation over match bonus payments “grounded” the team in Windhoek after playing a 1-1 draw with hosts, Namibia, in an African qualifier for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, also to be hosted by Brazil.
A PANA Correspondent, covering the eight-team tournament, reports that the late arrival of the Super Eagles may have resulted in the general fan apathy for the tie taking place on Monday.
Only 17,210 tickets for the match had been bought as at Friday night while the venue of the match can hold 62,547 spectators.
According to the organisers, additional 36,134 tickets are still available for the Nigeria match but local football followers appeared skeptical, fearing either a ‘no-show’ or a below par performance, considering the rating of Tahiti and the apparent apathy the Nigerian side is putting up.
Even, 2,308 of the tickets sold for the Monday game were yet to be collected.
In contrast, all tickets for the Brazil-Japan opening game of Saturday were expectedly bought.
Also sold are tickets for the group matches between Mexico and Italy in Rio on Sunday and that between Spain and Uruguay in Recife on the same day as well as Brazil and Italy in Salvador on June 22.
For Saturday’s opening match, 64,721 tickets were sold while Mexico-Italy match already had 71,407 tickets sold and collected.
The only Nigerian match that has attracted significant interest is the potentially explosive encounter with World Cup holders and European champions, Spain, slated for Fortaleza on 23 June.
About 45,234 tickets have been sold for the match, while additional 9,465 are being offered for sale.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles will lodge at the Caesars Park Inn when they arrive in the sixth Brazilian most populous city of Belo Horizonte.
Their late arrival will not afford the Nigerians the opportunity to have a feel of the match venue, the sumptuous and historical Estadio Mineirao, where the U.S. shocked England in a World Cup match 63 years ago.
The stadium has since 1965 been reconstructed
Jet lag permitting, the Super Eagles may have light training at the Estadio Raimundo Sampaio.
On the other hand, Tahiti which has been intensifying training sessions since arriving Brazil on June 7 will again have another feel of the Estadio Mineirao on Sunday evening (6.30pm Nigerian time) with a two-hour training session.
They will then round off their public activity for the day with a press conference.
Owing to the late coming of Nigeria, no activity has been slated for the Super Eagles who may not have a pre-match conference.