There seems to be frantic effort for relative peace in Ukraine ahead of the September 10, historic international friendly with the Super Eagles of Nigeria. The senior football team of the two countries will be meeting for the first time in a FIFA window match.
Over the weekend, the host country swapped dozens of prisoners with Russia- a neigbouring country- in the first step to stop the war between the two powerful nations.
The development heaved relief across international borders giving sports enthusiasts sign to look forward to a peaceful international football matchday at the Dnipro Arena, as the two countries face-up for the FIFA Grade tie.
The stadium (Dnipro Arena) is now a 31,003 capacity Arena. Recall the arena was initially considered as a playing venue for Euro 2012, but cancelled because it failed to meet the capacity requirement of 33,000 seats.
Ahead of the FIFA international friendly, Ukraine President, Volodymyr Zelensky, a former comedian, said that he had spoken by telephone with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, and reached an agreement “on the first step to stop the war,” which led to the exchange of over 70 prisoners on Saturday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany welcomed the Prisoners exchange as a “hopeful sign.” Ms. Merkel has been deeply involved in the so far fruitless efforts to stop the fighting, which has killed more than 13,000 people, many of them civilians and foreigners.
President Trump said on Twitter that the exchange was “very good news, perhaps a first giant step to peace.”
Donald Tusk, the European Council president, said of the release, “Finally!” He wrote on Twitter, “I continue my call on Russia to release all political prisoners and respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
Meanwhile,Ukraine manager, Andriy Shevchenko, has confirmed he will parade a strong when they tackle Nigeria on Tuesday. he has also revealed that he will offering playing time to squad members , who have not had an opportunity to play for the national team in recent games.
Recall that the Shevchenko side send a poser to Nigeria as they recorded a 3-0 away win over Lithuania in Saturday’s Euro 2020 qualifier. However, Celtic’s Marian Shved will surely be missing in action after heading back to Scotland, courtesy of an injury.
Already the Super eagles camp is field with array of international players some will howvever be looking forward to play for the National team for the first time.
Among the players already in camp are, Everton midfielder, Alex Iwobi, Villarreal’s youngster, Samuel Chukwueze, Udinese defender, William Troost Ekong.
The likes of Leon Balogun, Francis Uzoho, Jamilu Collins and Moses Simon, who are also part of the squad that finished third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations are also in camp.
Newly invited players like Joe Aribo, Josh Maja, Anderson Esiti have also landed in Dnipro. However, as at press time, Leicester City’s forward, Kelechi Iheanacho is still expected at the Gernot Rohr led Eagles camp.
Meanwhile, Iheanacho’s teammate at Leicester, Wilfried Ndidi has pulled out of the squad alongside captain, Ahmed Musa due to injuries. Tyron Ebuehi is also out due to an injury.
It will be the first matchup between the Super Eagles and Ukraine who are managed by former AC Milan striker, Andriy Shevchenko.
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