Super Eagles Stuck In Atlanta, 24 Hours Before Opening Game And Nigerians Are Not Smiling.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have reportedly trained in Atlanta since July 3, and one would expect them to be in Brazil earlier than now as they play against Japan on Thursday at 9 p.m. EDT in Manaus.

Regrettably, the Men’s Olympic Team have had their flight to Brazil delayed, leaving them with less than 24 hours before the opening game.

Nigerians are not smiling.

According to media reports, the Super Eagles had hoped to fly to Brazil last Friday, but “logistics mix-up” with the operators of their charter aircraft left them stranded in Georgia.

“The Nigerian government (sports ministry) is responsible for booking the tickets for the team to travel, but we heard there is a logistical mix-up with payments,” a source close to the Nigeria Football Federation told BBC Sport.

“The money paid by the ministry for the charter flight did not hit (the) airline’s account on Tuesday, so they refused to fly the team to Brazil.”

As it stands now, the country’s Olympic soccer team won’t be flying to Brazil until the morning of its tournament opener after having multiple connecting flights cancelled.

Another media report claims, “the Nigerians will now depart from Atlanta at 7 a.m. Thursday morning after cancelling a Wednesday night flight because their plane was too small”. 

Confirming that a delayed bank transfer process was the reason for our Super Eagles’ nightmare, the BBC initially reported Wednesday morning that the squad was stuck in Atlanta because the Nigerian Sports Ministry’s payment to the airline scheduled to carry the team to Brazil had not gone through.

Colin Udoh provided some more details on Twitter:

With the payment sorted out, the Nigerian team was scheduled to fly out Wednesday night. But it’s apparently not the first time the players have been promised that their flight was scheduled, only to have it fall through.

“We’ve been told to get ready to fly out in few hours but that’s been the story since last week,” an unnamed player told the BBC.

When the players arrived at the aircraft and saw the aircraft that was supposed to finally take them to Brazil, there was a totally separate issue:

Flights from Atlanta to Manaus take an estimated eight hours, meaning a 7 a.m. flight will get the players on the ground in Brazil at 3 p.m., six hours before their game against Japan is scheduled to kick off. Ebikagbro, the team’s media officer, says the flight will arrive at 2 p.m.:

It’s more likely that the Super Eagles will perform wonderfully well in this opening game against fast-paced Japan, after spending 8 hours on board and having less time to relax or get used to the pitch.

Good one, Nigeria.

Someone will always take the blame when things go wrong with logistics, but it’s clear, the NFA won’t be that group.