The Nigeria Football Federation on Wednesday confirmed that the Super Eagles would face England in a friendly affair at Wembley Stadium in London on June 2.
England manager Gareth Southgate also confirmed the encounter as well as the June 7 date against Costa Rica at Leeds United’s Elland Road Stadium.
The match will be only the third between both Nigeria and England, who are preparing for the Russia 2018 World Cup. Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr expressed his delight at the opportunity to lead his charges against the 1966 world champions ahead of the World Cup.
Reports claim Southgate needs the clash to prepare his team for their World Cup fixture against Tunisia in Volograd on June 18.
NFF 1st vice-president Seyi Akinwunmi said the federation was happy with the development.
He told thenff.com, “The match is now confirmed. “Now, we are happy to say that it is all sealed. Certainly, it is going to be a big match, between two countries of remarkable historical affinity and similarities.
“We have other matches and programmes for the team, and we will soon roll out the entire plan for the matches, camping sites and training camps.”
The NFF said the friendly was initiated in 2015 when the president of the federation Amaju Pinnick met with former The FA chairman Greg Dyke in London. The body said Pinnick and Shehu Dikko (who is also chairman of the NFF Marketing, Sponsorship and TV Rights Committee) later met with the current chairman of The FA Greg Clarke in London.
“One of the promises made by Pinnick at the outset of his administration was that he would actualise a match between Nigeria and England. That has now become a reality – another promise fulfilled,” the NFF said.
Rohr told thenff.com, “This is good news for myself and the entire team. England are very strong currently and I believe they will give us a very good match. We will be able to test our readiness for the World Cup when we meet the Three Lions at Wembley.”
While Nigeria play Croatia, Iceland and Argentina in Group D, England will take on Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in Group G in Russia.
“We’re going into a World Cup where we will play African and Central American opposition so we get that with the games against Nigeria and Costa Rica, but it’s not just about the games we’ve got in the group but hopefully beyond that as well,” AFP quoted Southgate as saying on Tuesday.
“We want to expose the team to different styles and different experiences.”