Flying Eagles in flight hitch

Nigeria’s Flying Eagles had to endure a three-hour flight delay in South Africa early Friday morning after they were forced to land in Durban as a result of poor visibility in Johannesburg.

The pilot of the Arik Air flight informed passengers that Johannesburg was under a heavy fog making visibility to be as poor as 300 metres when a big aircraft like the B737-800 carrying the national U20s needs at least 600 metres to touch down safely.

At the Durban airport, the plane, which had a party of 29 players and officials on board, had to make two attempts to land after the equipment at the airport delivered an error message.

In Durban, the plane refuelled and sorted out all the necessary paper work before flying out on another 50-minute return trip to Johannesburg.

Captain David jokingly told the passengers: “Now we are really working for our money.”

The team were welcomed on arrival by head of competition of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mohammed Sanusi, as well as top Nigeria High Commission staff led by minister and head of chancery, Anderson Madubike.

Madubuike promised to mobilise support for the Flying Eagles, like the High Commission did when the Super Falcons again conquered Africa last year in South Africa.

Both Sanusi and coach John Obuh promised the team will clinch the trophy for a sixth time.

The team were later driven to the sprawling Garden Court Southern Sun in Grayston, where all eight teams for this biennial tournament are lodged.

Seven of the teams have booked into the 253-room hotel bar The Gambia.

The Flying Eagles had their first training late Friday under pouring rain, while VVV Venlo star Ahmed Musa is expected to join the rest of the squad on Sunday.

Nigeria’s opening Group B match is against Ghana on Monday from 12 noon local time (1lpm Nigerian time).

Their other group games have also been fixed for the same time.
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