Eagles arrived in their Sanatorium Istochnik Hotel, Essentuki team base camp on Monday evening to begin their final preparation for their opening game of the FIFA World Cup against Croatia on Saturday.
The team had their first training yesterday evening and will continue today before moving to Kaliningrad, venue of the opening game, tomorrow. The match will hold at the 35,000 -capacity Kaliningrad Arena. Departure from Kaliningrad is set for 4pm Russia time.
A delegation of 23 players and technical and administrative staff flew by executive jet from Vienna to Essentuki Airport in South West Russia on Monday, arriving at a few minutes after 10pm. Large gatherings of people showed excitement at seeing the three -time African champions arrive in very Nigerian buba-and-sokoto uniform sown in Nigerian colours, complemented with white bowler hats. Essentuki is located in the Stavropol region of southern Russia.
There was a brief airport reception coordinated by staff of the Local Organizing Committee and the world football -governing body, FIFA. At the hotel, a welcome reception organized by the Governor of Essentuki, the Minister of Sports in the Stavropol region and the Manager of Sanatorium Istochnik also held.Yesterday morning, FIFA and LOC conducted the team arrival meeting, ahead of the training session in the evening.
Meanwhile, legendary German coach, Otto Pfister has opined that Nigeria can spring a surprise at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but they consistently overestimate their chances of success, reports allnigeriasoccer.com.Pfister has been around since the '70s, he has coached Rwanda, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Zaire, Ghana, Togo and Cameroon national teams, so it's right to call him an African Football expert.
"Nigeria also has a chance to surprise some people but they aren't calm, they are too emotional and they overestimate themselves," Pfister told Deutsche Welle's Kick Off. "They think they will win the World Cup, but they're too hot-blooded for that."
No African team has managed to qualify for the last four of the World Cup; Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) were very close but got eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia and Morocco are Africa's five representatives in Russia 2018.