British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, has insisted that the high-profile international friendly between England’s Three Lions and Nigeria was more than just a game. He said his country is eagerly looking forward to the June 2 date with enthusiasm.
“Let me 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,” the High Commissioner said when Nigeria Football Federation top officials paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja on Thursday.
He recalled the historical ties between both countries.
Arkwright noted, “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.”
Earlier, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick who was accompanied on the visit by Second Vice President Shehu Dikko informed Arkwright that the Nigerian High Commission in the United Kingdom was also involved in efforts to ensure the match is a huge success, coming less than two weeks before the opening match of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.
Pinnick 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 two countries have so much in common. We believe this match will go a long way in strengthening England-Nigeria relations in several areas.”
Also present at the meeting was Louise Edwards, who is Second Secretary, Political of the British High Commission in Nigeria.
The Super Eagles and the Three Lions will play at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday, 2nd June, in what will be the Eagles’ penultimate friendly match before flying to the World Cup finals in Russia.
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 thanks to 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 the Nagai Stadium in Osaka.