By Victor Okoye
Fans and supporters were on Tuesday barred from entering the stadium until they had gone through compulsory COVID-19 test at the Stade Roumdé Adjia in Cameroon.
The compulsory COVID-19 test and vaccination was imposed on spectators and football fans, wishing to gain entrance into the stadium to watch the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) game between Nigeria and Egypt.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC), who had trooped in their numbers to watch and cheer the Super Eagles during their crunch encounter in Garoua, were caught in the last-minute scramble for the compulsory test.
This delayed the NFSC members’ arrival, causing them to miss the first 15 minutes of the game but thankfully, the score was still 0-0 by the time they settled in.
No sooner had the NFSC began singing and cheering the team before Kelechi Iheanacho opened scoring for the Super Eagles in the 30th minute of the game.
Samuel Ikpea, the National Chairman of NFSC, who expressed mixed feelings about the compulsory COVID-19 test, noted that the idea was good but the timing was wrong.
“In the first place, they are doing the right thing, according to the rules guiding COVID-19.
“But I think the issue is that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) did not carry us along.
“The NFF is supposed to pass these information, knowing fully well that the NFSC will be here to cheer our darling team to victory.
“So, I think it is not good. No matter what it takes, we are all Nigerians and what we are doing here is a national assignment.
“The NFF should be able to carry us along, give us every necessary report as far as any international team is concerned,” he said.
Victor Onowu, the NFSC Secretary General corroborated Ikpea’s view, stressing that the NFF must work in synergy with the NFSC.
“My national chairman has said it all because we have been following football for over 30 years now. We have been supporting the Super Eagles in all the world cups from 1994 till date.
“The NFSC is the best and foremost supporters club in Nigeria and must be carried along by the NFF.
“Having said that, I think the test is good and a welcome development,” he said.
Iheanacho’s superb first-half goal has handed Nigeria a well-deserved 1-0 victory over Egypt in their AFCON Group ‘D’ clash on Tuesday in Garoua, Cameroon.
Iheanacho hammered in a half-volley from the edge of the box into the top corner in the 30th minute to settle the contest at the Stade Roumdé Adjia.
The Super Eagles, who will play all their group ‘D’ matches in Garoua will take on Sudan on Saturday before playing their last game against Guinea Bissau on Jan. 19. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)