Arsenal’s Nigeria tour still uncertain

Supersport’s George Akpayen writes that English Barclays Premier League club, Arsenal has not confirmed if their first-team will be touring Nigeria this year.

Katie Baldwin of the club's communications department informed this week that the tour of Nigeria is still not etched in stone in spite of "preliminary trips (to Nigeria) to look at facilities."

"As yet the club has not confirmed any plans for a tour in Nigeria, although you will know club officials have made preliminary trips to look at facilities.

"I would be happy to update you as and when there is further news," said Baldwin.

In February, Arsenal's marketing director; Angus Kinnear led a handful officials from the English champions to look at facilities in Nigeria ahead of the planned pre-season tour.

"It's been a lovely time here, the energy level is absolutely unbelievable. 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.

"Arsenal's commitment to Nigeria is long-term. Tour can co-exist with Emirates Cup," Kinnear said.

The Gunners will be touring the Asian nation of Malaysia in late July while the tour of Nigeria remains unconfirmed and could be decided at the end of the ongoing EPL season.

However, an Arsenal blog, wrote last week that there may be reasons why the Nigeria tour for Arsenal may not hold.

According to them, Arsenal are expected to play two matches in Port Harcourt and Lagos in august before returning to start the 2012/13 season but the truth is that UEFA Champions League qualifying matches will be played at that time.

The club may be cautious about confirming the tour of Nigeria until 3rd spot on the EPL table is confirmed and group stage Champions League qualification has been cemented in the league.
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