Arsenal finalising Nigeria tour plans


English Premier League side Arsenal are finalising plans for a pre-season visit to Nigeria this summer.

Officials from the London club are in Nigeria to inspect more facilities across the country for the tour, scheduled for August.

Organisers DanJan Sports and Arsenal officials also met with some fans of the North London side.

"It's been a lovely time here, the energy level is absolutely unbelievable," Arsenal's marketing director Angus Kinnear.

"We are still inspecting potential facilities in different states and the fans are excited about the tour.

"Essentially, the connection with the fans has been amazing.

"Arsenal went to Asia last year and what we've seen on the ground here is encouraging.

"Like we've emphasised, there is a strong desire to connect with our fans in Africa and the first step starts in Nigeria."

The club traditionally hosts an annual pre-season tournament at the Emirates Stadium, but they opted to postpone the event for a year because of the 2012 London Olympics.

As part of their preparation for the 2012/13 season, the club have opted to connect with their huge fan base in Africa, by visiting the continent.

John Okusi of DanJan Sports said: "Arsenal has got a huge fan base in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, so far everything is going well."

"They've been to several states and officials are excited about the prospect of hosting the club here.

"There are only few things to be sorted out."

On a lighter note, Angus Kinnear revealed how the fans stunned him with their reaction to the North London derby victory against Tottenham Hotspur.

"The celebration and mood of the fans was shocking." Kinnear said.

"They celebrated that victory more than what I've ever experienced in London.

"It's amazing and I'm touched. The passion is incredible"

Interestingly in July 2008, DanJan Sports brought two other English clubs, Manchester United and Portsmouth, to the Nigerian capital Abuja for pre-season friendly.

Manchester United took on Portsmouth before Pompey then played against Nigeria Premier League (NPL) side Kano Pillars.

The English Premier League is hugely popular in football-mad Nigeria, with millions of fans following the league on both terrestrial and satellite television.
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