The last time the Super Eagles played at the MKO Abiola Stadium was against the Black Stars of Ghana during the second leg of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Thomas Partey’s thunderous goal was beyond the reach of Francis Uzoho, which many Nigerians have described as a colossal blunder from the goalkeeper. That seems not to be tolerated by thousands of fans who travelled from all parts of the country to support the team, instead were left disappointed.
The stadium was massively invaded by angry Nigerian fans after full time, resulting in the death of a CAF medical team. Many Ghanian players were shielded off the pitch on that day, and properties worth millions were destroyed.
Afterwards, many blogs reported that the MKO Abiola stadium has been banned indefinitely by FIFA, which NFF discredited to say there was never a time FIFA placed a ban on the stadium following the chaotic involvement of fans.
For such an act not to repeat on Thursday, NFF has issued a statement saying the match will be played behind closed doors.
NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said in Abuja on Tuesday that the situation is a consequence of the one-match ban placed on the country by the world football –governing body, FIFA over the fracas that followed the end of the 2022 FIFA World Cup playoff round against the Black Stars of Ghana in March.
“We want to appeal to our very passionate football fans to take heart for this one game. It is only a one-match ban, after which they can again start trooping out to support the Super Eagles. The match against Sierra Leone will be without fans as a consequence of what happened after the match against the Ghanaians.
“Nonetheless, we want to urge all our football fans, and indeed all Nigerians, to support the team whichever way they can and pray for success against the Sierra Leoneans on Thursday.”