The 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier between Sierra Leone and defending champions, Cote d’Ivoire, will now take place at the Adokiye Amiesiamaka Stadium, Port Harcourt on Sunday, Nigeria Football Federation has announced.
The NFF had concluded arrangements for the match to hold at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, but then received a letter from the Sierra Leone Football Association conveying concerns raised by the Football Ivorienne de Football (FIF) about playing on artificial turf, hence the choice of Port Harcourt.
“We received a letter from the SLFA saying they are aware of serious concerns by the Ivorien Football Federation about their players playing on artificial turf, which is the texture of the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
“The NFF had concluded arrangements to have the match in Lagos, but as a result of the letter, we had to look elsewhere. We appreciate the Lagos State Government for showing interest in hosting the match,” NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, said on Monday.
Sanusi added: “We have decided to see some positives in this compelled switch. When our Super Eagles fly into Port Harcourt from Dar es Salaam in the early hours of Sunday, they will be able to go to the stadium in the evening to see the Sierra Leone/Cote d’Ivoire match.”
And according to a letter from the Sierra Leone FA which reads, inter alia: “I have been asked to inform you that we are privy to concerns raised by the Ivorian Football Federation about playing on an artificial turf at the AFCON qualifier match between Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast on Sunday, 6th September, 2015. Would it be possible for us to have an alternative solution of a natural grass stadium if need be to avoid any rancour.”
The letter was signed by Chris Kamara, the SLFA’s General Secretary.