2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Okoye on way to Uyo to complete roll in Eagles’ camp


Joel Ajayi

A challenging logistics planning for Friday’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and South Africa would finally be overcome by Wednesday evening, with the expected arrival of Super Eagles’ goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, the South African delegation and the match officials in the Akwa Ibom State capital.

Italy-based Okoye was the only invited player not in camp for lunch on Wednesday, but was already in Nigeria and booked for a flight out of the Federal Capital.

Majority of the match officials were also booked for flights out of the Federal Capital, with only referee assessor Ahmed Sayed Abou Elela from Egypt due to arrive in Nigeria on Thursday.

As at the time of this report, the South African delegation was on a chartered aircraft bound for Lagos, due to arrive at 3.30pm. Delegation members have been scheduled to alight from the aircraft and complete immigration formalities in Lagos before boarding the chartered jet again for the 45-minute flight to Uyo, to arrive on Wednesday evening.

The nationwide industrial action that began on Monday threw general planning for the big match off-gear, and the Nigeria Football Federation had to opt for chartered jet-arrangements to get players stranded in Lagos and Abuja down to the Akwa Ibom State capital.


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