Arsenal Okays Abuja Stadium, Transcorp Hilton for Nigerian Tour
Advance team of Arsenal Monday gave Abuja the nod to host the English side’s pre season tour coming
up next summer.
Marketing Director of Arsenal, Angus Kinnear and the First team Travel and Equipment Manager, Paul
Johnson expressed satisfaction with the facilities at the Abuja National Stadium and Transcorp Hilton
Hotel, where the English Premier League side are expected to put up during their stay in Nigeria.
Kinnear and Johnson were accompanied on the tour by a mix of Nigerian consultants, including Hon
Razak Bello- Osagie of the House of Representatives, David Omigie, John Okosi, Ibrahim Danbatta and
The Abuja Stadium Manager, Victor Osunsanmi took them on the guided tour of the National Stadium,
shortly upon their arrival to the nation’s capital via Lagos.
They were satisfied with the state of the 60,000 capacity stadium after inspecting the VIP stand, state
box, changing rooms and the main pitch.
The Arsenal officials also gave Transcorp Hilton Hotel a wink of approval after they were taken to the
meeting rooms, gym, restaurant and guest rooms.
They later paid separate courtesy visits to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) where they were
received by the Secretary General, Musa Amadu and the Director General of National Sports
Commission (NSC), Chief Patrick Ekeji.
Amadu told the Arsenal delegation that football is an intense passion in Nigeria which some
commentators even elevate to a religion at times.
Kinnear said their choice of Nigeria was informed by the large fan base of Arsenal in Nigeria which he
described as “overwhelming and probably the largest in the world outside the United Kingdom”.
“There is a large fan base for Arsenal in Nigeria. We are also happy with the reception we got at the
airport, hotel and everywhere. The reception is unbelievable,” Kinnear said.
He promised that all the big actors in Arsenal including Richard Van Persie, Theo Walcott, Tomas
Rosisky, Mikel Arteta, Alex Song and others will be keen to visit the homeland of Nwankwo Kanu, one of
Arsenal’s living legends.
Kinnear said that the key consideration behind the decision to come to Nigeria was to engage their fans
rather than to make financial benefits.
According to him, the team’s itinerary of Nigeria is still a work in session as they were in the country to
see the facilities on ground.
“The benefit for us is really about engaging our supporters. We want to meet them. We had a very
successful tour of the Far East last year. And we know that will exactly be the same in Nigeria if not
more so. Arsenal fans are global,” Kinnear said.