Nigeria’s Flying Eagles had to battle the cold and wind for their first training at the Ferrymead Park in Christchurch ahead of Thursday’s U20 World Cup Round of 16 clash against Germany.
Tuesday night’s training was under floodlights under a cold chill with a strong wind. The temperature was put at a “warm” 16 degrees, but locals warned that it will be much colder on match day as forecasts say it will be between 10-0 degrees then.
However, fullback Mustapha Abdullahi said he was not affected by the adverse weather conditions.
“I like playing under the cold because I last a lot longer, I don't get tired easily. Once you get properly warmed up, you will be fine,” he said.
Skipper Musa Mohammed missed the session as he was at the dentist over a bad tooth ache.
“I feel a lot better now and I will be ready to play on Thursday,” Mohammed reassured on his return from the dentist.
Team spirit was sky-high as players sang on their way from training to their Rydges Hotel, which was completely rebuilt after it was partially destroyed during the February 2011 earthquake which killed 185 people.
The players’ confidence was further boosted when Nigerian residents in Christchurch treated them to local dishes of Semovita, pounded yam with Egusi soup.
The team’s final training will be a 1pm local time on Wednesday.
The match will kick off at 7.30 pm on Thursday, which is 8.30am in Nigeria.