It’s Super Eagles vs massive Croatian support

It is turning out that the Super Eagles have to charge their mentality against a massive support base which the city of Kaliningrad is providing against them in favour of their opponents, Croatia, in their opening game and the second in the Russia 2018 World Cup Group preliminaries.

The Croatians already boast of a huge band of traveling fans but they are further boasted by the people of Kaliningrad who see the Croatians as their Eastern European and Soviet brothers.

It is already getting deafening with the all red and white crowd buzzing with horns and vuvuzelas.

On the contrary, the Nigeria population is very low in the city and it is most probably the delegation from Nigeria that will show any considerable presence. It is doubtful if the Super Eagles supporters at the Kaliningrad Stadium will number up to 3,000 among the expected 35,000 capacity.

The President of the Nigerian Community in St Petersburg, Dr Zubairu Ozigis together with the Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Prof Steve Davies Ughah, have charged themselves to mobilise support but Russia has proved not to be a high traffic destination for Nigerian immigrants and tourists.

According to Ozigis, a medical doctor who has been in Russia for 25 years after his studies, there are only about 400 Nigerians in St Petersburg among which are only 20 fully legal immigrant families while the others are students and other immigrants of different statuses. Interestingly, the Nigerian population in Kaliningrad is far less than in St Petersburg.

While Nigeria has a good population of residents in Moscow, with over 2000 full legal migrant families, traveling by road or train from Moscow and other parts of Russia to Kaliningrad, an Island set in the middle of the sea, presents its own difficulty as it takes crossing over three countries including Belarus and Latvia, to get there. For this a Shengen visa is required.

Notwithstanding that the crowd in Kaliningrad is very likely to overwhelm the number of fans, including African migrants who may join to route for Nigeria, the Super Eagles have said they are prepared for anything with Coach Rohr assuring that the players are fully ready for battle, physically, mentally and psychologically.


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Fred Edoreh - Publisher

Born July 13, 1965, Fred Edoreh hails from Umeh, Isoko South, Delta State. He attended St. John Primary School, Iselegu, Mater Dei Collage Ashaka, St. Patrick’s Grammar School, Asaba for HSC and graduated in English and Literary Studies at Bendel State University, Ekpoma.
He went into journalism in 1990 with Newbreed Magazine and later crossed over to television production with Ultimate Sports and Soccerworld on the Nigeria Televsion Authority.
He subsequently moved to pioneer Internet publishing in Nigeria with Nigeriasports.com and was later employed at Silverbird Television from where he moved as Editor of Weekend Sports at Naational Mirror Newspapers.
He currently publishes the online sports website www.sportstalkafrica.com besides and also runs a sports marketing outfit, Westcoast Works and Projects, managing and marketing live radio broadcast of the Nigeria Professional Football League.

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