Nigeria’s largest city Lagos will host a competitive men’s senior football match for the primary time in 20 years on 30 March.
The Super Eagles will combat Lesotho in their final 2021 Africa Cup of countries qualifier at the Teslim Balogun stadium.
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) officials say that the number of fans allowed into the stadium to observe the match depends on the Confederation of African Football’s Covid-19 protocols at the time.
The last competitive game Nigeria played in Lagos was a 1-0 Nations Cup qualifying convert Zambia in January 2001, while 10 years later there was a 2-1 friendly convert Sierra Leone at the Teslim Balogun venue.
March’s game could see Lagos once more becoming a permanent home for the Super Eagles consistent with sports minister Sunday Dare who is keen to refurbish the dilapidated National Stadium in Lagos.
“This city is happy to host the country’s first competitive fixture in 20 years during a place where the team rarely lose,” chairman of the Lagos State Sports Commission, Sola Aiyepeku, told BBC Sport Africa
“Everything is geared towards making Lagos the house base again because there’s a presence that this place has and demand that the fans have towards the opposition that puts them in fear.
“We want the Nigeria fear factor that this city has got to return and put that within the hearts and souls of teams that come here.”
The city is additionally confident that it can put all together with the required measures for the sport despite the continued global coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s an unprecedented time to host the national team but wherever you go there’s still the coronavirus, so it’ll definitely dampen probably the number of individuals,” NFF vice-chairman and Lagos FA boss Seyi Akinwunmi added.
“Despite the large logistic problems that come with these challenging times, Lagos state has proven that it can manage the pandemic quite most states within the country.
“The state has all the capacity, the hotels, state of the art ambulances, hospitals, and everything which is another reason for the country to return to Lagos.
“It’s been a challenging year for the planet in terms of football, but the country’s most famous state is delighted to welcome the Eagles back home where they’ve enjoyed an interesting success.”
The Super Eagles are playing their internationals around the country since the top of the 20th century when the cash-strapped Nigerian Football Association (now NFF) decided to approach cities curious about hosting international games.
Financial support, usually provided by the governors who host the national team in their states, saw the Eagles move around to Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Delta State.
The Abuja and Lagos National Stadiums, also as dozens of others that dot Nigerian cities, became white elephants furthering emphasizing a tragic reminder of Nigeria’s poor maintenance culture.