The Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC) says it has begun mobilising Nigerian residents in Cote D’Ivoire to storm Abidjan to cheer the Super Eagles to victory in the 2023 AFCON.
Bright Urenyere, chairman of the NFSC mobilisation committee, Cote D’Ivoire chapter, said this in an interview.
The 24-nation continental spectacle will kick off from January 13 to February 11 in six stadiums across five cities in Cote D’Ivoire.
Urenyere noted that the Cote D’Ivoire chapter of the NFSC, established over three decades ago, remained the only registered supporters club on the ground mobilising local support for the Super Eagles.
He said aside from galvanising local support, thousands of NFSC members from Nigeria and neighbouring countries led by national chairman Samuel Ikpea were expected to storm Abidjan ahead of the tournament.
“We have been doing a lot to sensitise and mobilise Nigerians here in Cote D’Ivoire to come out en mass to support the Super Eagles when the tournament starts.
“Our chapter has more than 500 registered members, but we are looking to strengthen our support with mobilisation of more than 1,000 Nigerians resident here to cheer our Super Eagles to victory,” he said.
Urenyere, however, appealed to the Nigerian Embassy in Abidjan to be fair in dealing with the NFSC, as it had been dealing with an “unknown” supporters club while shutting out the NFSC.
“This particular tournament has opened a lot of surprises to us, because the Nigerian embassy here in Abidjan is not giving us the necessary support that we need.
“Rather, they are working with another group which calls itself ‘Authentic’. We are not happy about this development because you can not leave an institution that has been in the system for over 30 years to go and work with a group that has just been formed, they are not grounded here,” Mr Urenyere said.
Mr Urenyere said he was not against the embassy working with any particular group. But it should carry everybody along to achieve the goal of propelling the Super Eagles to victory.
He specifically appealed to the Nigerian ambassador in Cote D’Ivoire to intervene so that the situation would not affect the Super Eagles’ chances at the tournament.
“The challenge we are having is that we need the attention of the ambassador here in Cote d’Ivoire to bring everybody under one umbrella so that we can mobilise massively.
“We are doing this selflessly. We don’t need money, we are not asking for anything, because some of us are doing our business here, but for the love and passion we have for Nigeria and the Super Eagles, that is why we are making this call,” he said.
He also stressed the need for match tickets to be properly sorted out between the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the Nigerian embassy and the suppers club so that members of the supporters club could easily enter the stadium.
Investigations revealed that the least tickets for the matches will go for between 3,000 and 4,000 Cefas.
Ikpea also assured that the association was working round the clock to ensure the Super Eagles did not lack support when the tournament kicked off.
He said the leadership of the Club was in touch with relevant stakeholders to ensure that all the warring factions were brought under one umbrella.
The Super Eagles open their campaign against Equatorial Guinea on January 14, followed by a mouth-watering clash with hosts Cote D’Ivoire on January 18. They end the group campaign with Guinea-Bissau on January 22.