Ronaldinho Gaúcho in
Abuja. Foto: Paulo Whitaker
Brazil Fever Grips Abuja
Ronadinho Star of The Show
Expectations have reached fever pitch here in Abuja ahead of the Super Eagles vs.
Brazil friendly match on Wednesday evening.
Several hundreds of fans, eager to catch a glimpse of their heroes at work, were
locked out of the Eagles morning training session on Tuesday.
Officials of Julius Berger Plc, the company that built the Abuja Stadium, told
www.kickoffnigeria.com that the fans were barred from gaining entry to the
stadium after the vandalisation of the facility during the Eagles matches
against Malawi and Ghana, recently.
Officials put the cost of the damage of the stadium during the LG Cup alone at
about six million naira and there was more destruction during Saturday's Nations
Cup fixture against Malawi.
"We can't afford to allow these vandals wreck more havoc at the stadium after
all the hard work we have done here," said an adamant Julius Berger official.
While at the Hilton Hotel, where both teams are putting up, hordes of fans
clustered around the lobby anxious to know whether the magical Brazilians are
actually in town.
"Have the Brazilians arrived?" asked a young female fan, who told
www.kickoffnigeria.com she was eager to meet and shake the hands of Ronaldinho.
Security is expected to be stepped up as expectations run even more wild leading
to the epic clash.
Match ticket sales have also doubled as fans now believe the game will finally
"The sales are better as the match approaches," a delighted ticket vendor, Ado
Ibrahim, told www.kickoffnigeria.com on Tuesday in Abuja.
"On Monday I sold over 100 popular stand tickets (price 1 500 naira) and right
now I have more than doubled that figure."
Business has been brisk for souvenir sellers who line up the major streets of
the capital city.
Organisers hope to stage a press conference at 14h00 local time to herald the
PSG striker Ronaldinho, one of the three 'R's, was mobbed right at the airport
on arrival and with his unmistakable wide, toothy smile will be the most
recognisable Brazilian player ahead of the epic clash on Wednesday.
This will be Ronaldinho's second visit to Nigeria as he was a member of the
junior Samba Stars that featured at the 1999 World Youth Championship which
The skilful forward, who also starred for Brazil at the 1997 FIFA U17
championship in Egypt, was a cult hero at the Calabar zone of Nigeria '99.
The young Brazilians were booted out of the tournament in the quarterfinal by
South American rivals Uruguay.
Goalkeeper Dida is yet another Brazilian player who will be popular with the
local fans thanks to his exploits with recently crowned European champions AC
Milan, and also the fact that he was in goal when the Dream Team led by Nwankwo
Kanu stunned Brazil in the semi-final of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Carlos Alberto Parreira,
Emerson & Lúcio in
Nigéria. Foto: Paulo Whitaker
Brazil Show Class in Training Last Night
Samba Stars of Brazil were impressive in their first work out at the Abuja
Stadium by 17h30 local time on Tuesday ahead of their high-profile match against
the Super Eagles.
The Brazilians landed Abuja late on Monday to a warm welcome by a few hundreds
of fans and officials at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport.
Match organisers told www.kickoffnigeria.com that a press conference to herald
the match took place at the Hilton Hotel in the afternoon.
The Eagles who are still basking in their Tunisia '2004 qualification, also
trained yesterday in the morning inside the main bowl of the Abuja Stadium.
Officials told www.kickoffnigeria.com that the team will not train in the
So far, the weather has held up quite nicely unlike on Saturday when the Malawi
match was held up for half an hour as a result of heavy downpour.