Gombe wants to host Olympic qualifiers


Gombe state government on Thursday indicated interest in hosting one of the two home matches of Nigeria’s Olympic team in either the All Africa Games or Olympic Games qualifiers.

State commissioner for sports and Culture, Ahmed Yayari declared the state’s interest while briefing the team’s coach Austin Eguavoen on the itinerary for the official opening of the new Pantami Stadium in Gombe.

“Let me start by saying congratulations because you are the first coach to take his boys on this pitch, so you should record this day and date because this is a record in the history of Gombe as a state and congratulations for how far you have gone in the All Africa games and Olympic games qualifiers,” the commissioner said.

An obviously excited Yayari after watching the team’s morning session said “we are looking forward to a successful ceremony on Sunday.

“The ceremony will begin at 5pm with other activities lined up for the day including a ceremonial 100 meters race before the Honourable Minister of sports and chairman National sports commission officially declares the Stadium open,” he revealed.

He added that the match between Gombe United and the Olympic Team would be the climax of the celebrations as it kicks off at 6pm.

Eguavoen said there was a big possibility that the Olympic Team could play one of their qualifiers in Gombe.

“This is Nigeria’s National team and Gombe is a part of Nigeria so there’s nothing wrong with playing here but that of course you know would be a decision my employers, the Nigeria Football Federation would have to ratify,” Eguavoen said.

Ten players took part in the team’s first training session at the multipurpose Pantami Stadium Gombe.

The Africa Youth Championship winning duo of Terna Suswan, Emmanuel Anyanwu, Kingsley Udoh, Osas Okoro and Kano Pillars Theophilus Afelohia are among the early arrivals to camp.

Eguavoen has given players in the Nigeria Premier League until Friday to arrive in camp for the match.

The team had previously played their qualifying games in Benin, a town in Midwestern Nigeria.
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