B2World Soccer News Nigeria: Guiness says game is for fans
THE presence of top football personalities at the unveiling of the Grade a friendly match between the Eagles and the Argentine National team last month showed the importance attached to the game.
Football buffs, administrators and journalists, who were present at the venue, agreed that the encounter would be a good test for the new team, which Coach Samson Siasia is building.
The Argentines have won games between the two countries at both the U-20 and U-23 levels levels. The Super Eagles fell 2-1 to the Albicelestes at the USA ’94 World Cup and any hope of getting a revenge evaporated as the Eagles once again lost 1-0 to the South Americans at the 2002 World Cup.
Samson Siasia was also at the helms of affairs when the Flying Eagles and the Under 23 team lost to a Lionel Messi-inspired side in the final of the World Youth Championship in 2005 in Holland and the Olympic Games in 2008 in Beijing.
The Eagles under Coach Lars Lagerback also lost to the South Americans at last year’s World Cup in South Africa. So, the importance placed on the match is high and it would afford Siasia to the opportunity to settle scores with the Argentines.
However, for the sponsors of the game, Guinness Nigeria Plc, the tie would afford Nigerians the opportunity to see their emerging stars take on one of the best footballing nations.
While it is not certain whether the South Americans would come to town with two-time world Footballer of the Year, Messi, the sponsors are hopeful that the best of football would be on display at the Abuja National Stadium on match day.
To underline their readiness for the game, Guinness’ boss told journalists that the right of Nigerian football fans to see top games informed his company’s decision to bankroll the encounter.
“I am, therefore, delighted to announce Guinness The Match, a FIFA accredited football game, in response to the growing calls for the Super Eagles to be able to play world class competition with one of the top football nations of the world.
“And on behalf of Nigerian football fans, Guinness has negotiated with the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) and the Argentine Football Association to bring the South American giant to play the Super Eagles on June 1.”
He added: “It would be the event of a lifetime that no true football fan should miss. Argentina — one of the world’s greatest football nations renowned for its touch of genius and creative play — have never before played on Nigerian soil and as a country that has produced some of the greatest footballers, people will be talking about this for a long time to come. And since Argentina beat Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup in 2010, there is definitely a lot at stake,” he said.
Announcing juicy offers, Hainsworth stated that passionate fans would have the opportunity to play a part in Guinness The Match including becoming an assistant coach to the Super-Eagles, be the official photographer, be an official TV and radio commentator as well as the chance get behind the scenes and see the teams at close quarters.
Chairman of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Babatunde Savage said that Nigeria being a great nation with great people deserves the best.
“Nigeria is a great nation of good people, many of whom are ardent and passionate followers of football. they just don’t follow our players and national teams but any game, anywhere in the world, particularly the English Premier League, Champions League, La Liga and of course the Africa Cup of Nations and The World Cup tournaments.
“Many of Nigeria’s football fans are also passionate fans of Guinness. Guinness is arguably Nigeria’s most beloved beer and we remain grateful to the people of Nigeria for their continued support,” he added.
Continuing, he said: “Through this sponsorship, Guinness celebrates the greatness of the players that represent our country and those around them who have inspired them to reach for greatness despite what sometimes look like a rollercoaster ride. So, we have decided to take positive action and reiterate our support for the nation’s fans and our national team.”
However, Siasia has said that he was ready for the challenge against Argentina on June 1 at the Abuja Stadium. His words: “I want to thank Guinness for stepping in and making this happen for Nigeria. The fans should be grateful to Guinness for this opportunity.
“It’s now down to us and the fans to make sure we show that we are a football nation worthy of respect. The match would also give us the chance to show that we have the potential to succeed on the world stage. we had played Argentina three times at senior national level in the past and they have been formidable opponents.
“they too are building for the future and from this game we can benchmark the progress of our future heroes against that of their future heroes. But we are ready for the challenge.
He continued: “I am well aware that if there is anything that makes Nigerians genuinely happy and love to be called Nigerians, it is the success of the Super Eagles. What makes Nigerians happy is what makes me happy. I am therefore determined to make sure that Guinness The Match on home soil on June 1, this year will be an epic encounter that will make Nigerians happy by making history and coming away with our first ever win against Argentina at senior national level.”
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