Arik Air to fly African Champions Super Eagles home

Published on February 11, 2013 by pmnews   ·   No Comments

Super eagles rejoice

Ogenyi Onazi with Nigeria’s flag

Africa’s new football champions, Nigeria’s Super Eagles will arrive in Abuja from Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday at about 1:00 p.m. aboard a chartered Arik Air flight.

The Airline’s Public Relations and Communications Manager, Mr. Adebanji Ola, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

The statement said that already, Arik Air had dispatched an aircraft —Airbus A340-500 — to Johannesburg, to transport the team home.

“The flight is scheduled to depart Johannesburg early on Tuesday and touchdown in Abuja at 1:00 p.m., same day.

“The Federal Government had approached Arik Air management to carry out this national assignment as it did in 2010, when the airline provided the aircraft that conveyed the Super Eagles to Durban for the World Cup in Luanda, Angola,” it said.

Ogenyi Onazi with Nigeria's flag

Ogenyi Onazi with Nigeria’s flag

Meanwhile, former Super Eagles Captain Nwankwo Kanu has said that coach Stephen Keshi should be left alone to fully re-build his team ahead of future international tournaments.

Kanu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Johannesburg on Monday that Keshi had laid a solid foundation with the crop of young players that won the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

He said the coach had been in football for a long time as a player and now coach and had vast experience on how to manage a team.

“Keshi, of course he is a big boss. He makes his decision and one thing you have to know, he has been there. He captained the Nigerian team to win the Nations Cup, so I do not believe that anybody can still tell him what to do. We should leave him alone. Whatever he did today (Sunday), no ordinary coach especially, a local coach can do that.

“He made his team, he played his pattern; he stands on them. He talked to the boys as a father, he takes them to this highest level and they win the cup. What else do you expect of him,” said the former Portsmouth of England star.

Kanu said the present Super Eagles were potential that could go places. The former two-time African footballer of the (1996 and 1999) said he had been talking to the players to take advantage of their talents to do the nation proud. He said the Eagles had proved critics wrong by winning the Nations Cup, saying that his presence in the team was to give them confidence.

In another development, family members of Super Eagles’ defender, Godfrey Oboabona, were in joyous mood in their Akure home on Sunday night, following Nigeria’s third AFCON victory, after 19 years.

Jonathan Oboabona, father of the Sunshine Stars’ defender, congratulated coach Stephen Keshi for winning the trophy, while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“We’re celebrating the Eagles’ victory here because God has been with us since the start of the competition. In fact, I don’t know what to say again, but I’m grateful to God, Nigerians, the Eagles’ coach and in particular, the management of Sunshine Stars FC, for giving my son, Godfrey, the opportunity to showcase his talent.

“Godfrey has made us proud. He has written our name in gold and we will continue to support and pray for him,” he said.

Also reacting, Godfrey’s brother, David Oboabona, hailed the team’s performance, saying, “I feel so great, it has happened again, after 19 years.

“We’re happy for Nigerians and everybody in the team, most especially the home-based players who are key to the Eagles success at the championship.

“My brother is a hero. For him to have won the trophy in his first appearance for Nigeria, he is a lucky boy and we are proud of his achievement.

“The victory has restored our lost glory in African soccer. I wish Godfrey and teammates the very best in their chosen careers,” the cricket player told NAN.

The Eagles’ coach took the risk to take six home based players to the Nations Cup. Apart from Oboabona, other local players that made Keshi’s team included goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim from Warri Wolves, Kano Pillars’ Gabriel Reuben, Sunday Mba of Warri Wolves who scored Nigeria’s winning goal against Burkina Faso on Sunday, Rangers’ Ejike Uzoenyi and Azubuike Egwuekwe