Barely one week after Diego Someone side Atletico Madrid became Europa league champions, football fans in Uyo will be lucky to see the 2nd most coveted trophy in European football history. This will indeed be a great feat for Akwa Ibom FA andLeague Management Company, LMC organisers of the match. The untiring Football Association, FA chairman of Akwa Ibom, Hon. Emmanuel Ibah spoke with The New Diplomat’s Akanimo Kufre about his team readiness to host Atletico. Also, Ibah has assured much more fun await fans who would storm the Nest of Champions for what would be pre-world cup party for football lovers in Nigeria.
Honourable some football enthusiasts are uncertain whether it’s Atletico’s team A or B that’s coming to Uyo. What first hand information is available?
It is a confirmed fact that Atletico Madrid will be in Uyo on Monday 21st May 2018 to play against super eagles team B on Tuesday 22nd May. Also very glad to inform you that they will come in with their fresh Europa Cup to the Nest of Champions, the match is slated for 6pm.
Will the team come with their first team players and coach?
You see one thing about football especially established club like Atletico Madrid, they are about 3rd biggest club in Spain, when you say the team is visiting they come wholesome. There is nothing like saying second 11 or so. So we assure you to see the likes of Diego Costa, Griezmann etc. And it will gladden your heart to note that they will come with the Europa trophy. The team is also coming with their president, Enrique Cerezo, the Spanish ambassador is likely to here and the entire hierarchy of NFF would be in Uyo too, it’s going to be a full house, Gernot Rohr would be here and his players would be camping in Uyo for 6 days before going over to Port Harcourt to play a friendly with Congo DR.
How prepared is the State FA top host this all important guest like Atletico Madrid?
I wouldn’t be this authoritative if the FA in Akwa Ibom was not on top gear of preparation. We are tested and trusted having hosted Super Eagles back and forth so there is nothing we cannot do well here. We are talking from experience. I am talking on point of certainty, we are ready and we are going to do something very wonderful Atletico will be happy to have come to Nigeria.
Are we expecting scouts and agents as part of this important football guest?
In actual fact that wasn’t part of our brief in putting this tournament together, such will be part of the business men’s deal. We don’t need to go and ask scouts to come but there will be in town in their numbers.
Is this all important football event organised by Akwa Ibom state government, NFF or Atletico?
At any point in time you don’t expect Akwa Ibom FA to be independent, we are working together and there is no where NFF will function without the state FA. So we are together whatever NFF in Abuja wheels out we are part of them in execution at state level. We are them actually not even part of them. The event is hosted by NFF in collaboration with MultiChoice, Super Sports. There will be a trophy called GoTv Cup for the Match.
What next after the Atletico Madrid visit?
We will continue to improve on this success, this is a big mileage for Akwa Ibom football and the State government and indeed everybody. The leader Gov. Udom Emmanuel has given us the environment to achieve this success because we have the facility. There is no way we could have gone this far so much kudos to the governor, Commissioner for Youth and Sports who has been cooperative and helping us. We must give kudos to all Akwa Ibom people who are ever ready to take this upon themselves because without you having the environment you can’t host such level of event.