Britain’s high commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright has disclosed that he is excited ahead of the June 2 international friendly between the Super Eagles and Three Lions of England.
Arkwright disclosed this when he received top shots of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) at the British High Commission in Abuja and used the opportunity to disclose that they will organize some events in the United Kingdom and Nigeria to coincide with the match.
Officially, both countries have clashed only twice previously at senior level: one competitive match and one friendly.
The friendly was on 16th November 1994, when the Three Lions pipped the Eagles 1-0 at old Wembley Stadium, courtesy a first half header by David Platt.
The second time was a group phase tie at the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals in Korea/Japan, where both teams ended it 0-0 at Nagai Stadium in Osaka.
Both teams will next lock horns at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday, 2nd June, in what will be the Eagles’ penultimate friendly match before flying to Russia, and Arkwright says the June 2 tie will be more than just a football match.
“Let me also assure you that England is taking this match very serious. It is more than just a game; it is a big preparatory game towards the FIFA World Cup.
“More than that, the historical ties between our two countries are there to be considered, so it will also serve to strengthen and enhance relations and good collaboration between our countries,” said Arkwright.
In response, NFF president, Melvin Amaju Pinnick said he is happy that the Nigerian High Commission in the United Kingdom is also involved in efforts to herald the game.
Pinnick said all hands are on deck to ensure that the match is a huge success, less than two weeks before the opening match of the Russia 2018 World Cup.
He said: “We appreciate the excellent cordial relations between our two countries and that is one of the reasons this is more than just a match.
“It is coming up only two weeks before Nigeria’s first match at the FIFA World Cup, and 16 days before England’s first match in Russia.
“Ours are two countries that have so much in common. We believe this match will go a long way in strengthening England-Nigeria relations in several areas.”