by ‘Ifreke Inyang
Last month, Arsenal Football Club announced they will be visiting Nigeria in August, and will play against the Super Eagles while on the tour. The news steadily generated hype and excitement in equal measure, as ardent supporters of the London club in these parts eagerly planned towards the date.
But the club, late on Thursday night, announced that it was postponing the trip reluctantly. Arsenal FC said they had arrived at the decision ‘as a result of complexities linked to the planned game against Nigeria on Saturday, August 5 in Abuja’.
“Bringing a top-level club to an international market is always complicated and logistically challenging. With the proposed match in Nigeria planned for early August, we could not get comfortable on everything needed to satisfy our requirements, so we have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the team’s visit,” Arsenal marketing director Angus Kinnear said.
“We have a huge and loyal following in Africa, and we are sorry that the team will not be visiting this summer. However, we have a long-term commitment to Nigeria and we are already making plans for a visit next summer.
“In addition, we also have some exciting forthcoming activities planned with our commercial partners in Nigeria – Emirates, Airtel and Malta Guinness, which will kick off in the next few weeks.”
Boutros Boutros, the divisional senior vice-president of corporate communications for Emirates Airlines, the presenting partner of the Arsenal 2012 Tour said: “Emirates shares Arsenal’s disappointment that the team’s visit to Nigeria has been postponed. We look forward to working with Arsenal to bring the Club closer to its loyal Nigerian fans through new initiatives over the coming months.”
We hear you.