Bafana Focused On Eagles After ‘18-Hour Travel Ordeal’

Bafana Focused On Eagles After ‘18-Hour Travel Ordeal’
Bafana Bafana Team


Nigeria’sopponents in Friday’s (today’s) 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier, South Africa, were quick to shake off their travel ordeal and get into work mode before their showdown at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.

The South African delegation arrived Uyo on Thursday morning and according to their account, their journey to Nigeria has been fraught with delays, resulting in the team spending a night at a hotel in Port Harcourt.

The team departed South Africa on a chartered flight on Wednesday morning, aiming to reach their Uyo base by 5pm the same day.

They reported that they had been on the road for 18 hours but couldn’t get to the match venue, Uyo. They arrived Nigeria through Port Harcourt airport where they had their immigration clearance. They could not fly directly to Uyo, which has a local airport.

However, by the time the visitors finished the immigration processes in Port Harcourt, the Uyo airport had reportedly closed.

After Hugo Broos’ side eventually settled in, they had a feel of the stadium on Thursday evening with optimism.

“Training done and dusted! All eyes on the game tomorrow (today)! #BafanaPride #WCQualifiers,” the team posted via X after their session.

South Africa are ahead of Nigeria in the qualifying Group C with three points and that gives them a bit of confidence coming up against the Eagles.

Also, they famously won 2-0 in Uyo against Nigeria in 2017 and that remains their only competitive victory over the Super Eagles.

At the last AFCON in Ivory Coast, Nigeria also beat them 4-2 on penalties in the semi-finals after 1-1 in 120 minutes, a result Broos said they won’t be seeking revenge for when today’s encounter kicks off.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation, while absolving itself of any blame in the South Africans trip to Nigeria insists that their delegation had no reason to cry foul after having to stay the night in Port Harcourt on Wednesday after arriving in Nigeria.

NFF’s protocol chief, Emmanuel Ayanbunmi, said the South African Football Association informed the NFF that its chartered aircraft would depart South Africa on Wednesday morning by 8am and land in Lagos to undergo immigration formalities before proceeding to Uyo.

The team however experienced delay before their takeoff from South Africa.

“The problem has nothing to do with the NFF. As at the time they said they were taking off, it took them a further five hours to actually depart from South Africa. We were not informed. We had informed officials of the Nigeria Immigration Service and other relevant agencies in Lagos to expedite action on the formalities for them.

“It was less than two hours to landing that they contacted us to say that the landing right they got was for Port Harcourt International Airport and not the MMA in Lagos. We had to quickly get in touch with officials of NMS and other agencies in Port Harcourt and mobilize people to ensure smooth formalities for them. Having completed all immigration formalities, they wanted to take off for Uyo but were informed that the Obong Victor Attah Airport only operates from sunrise to sunset, and so that was not possible. The NFF immediately mobilised resources for them to comfortably spend the night in Port Harcourt.”

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