The attention of football fans around the country will on Tuesday the 22nd of May shift to the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, where the Super Eagles will test their strength against LaLiga giants, Atletico Madrid, in the inaugural edition of the GOtv MAX Cup.
Expectedly the announcement of Atletico Madrid’s visit, which is happening on the invitation of MultiChoice, sparked huge excitement among football fans across the country, especially in Uyo, the host city.
Atletico Madrid are one of the biggest three teams in the LaLiga, where they have had an impressive season by qualifying for next season’s UEFA Champions League and defeating French side Marseille in Wednesday’s Europa League final, making them three time Europa champions. In European football, La Rojiblancos, as Atletico Madrid are called, are in the top tier and have played in two of the last four UEFA Champions League finals. In Spain, they are the only team to have broken the Barcelona-Real Madrid grip on LaLiga since 2004, winning the title in 2014.
Ex-Super Eagles midfielder, Mutiu Adepoju, who played for Racing Satander and Real Sociedad in LaLiga, is delighted that a team of Atletico’s calibre is coming to Nigeria.
For this, he said MultiChoice, SuperSport and GOtv should be commended, as the visit is an evidence of their commitment to Nigerian football and sports in general. He equally stated that the match will serve as part of the Super Eagles preparations for the World Cup, where they will face Argentina, Croatia and Iceland in Group D. Atletico Madrid are a supremely organized outfit, who play with aggression and intensity, attributes the Super Eagles will undoubtedly face during the World Cup campaign.
The LaLiga giants’ visit to Nigeria, their first ever, has been described as historic. Javier Tebas, LaLiga President, said: “This is a historic announcement (of the visit) and we are excited to share this news with our Nigerian fans: Atletico de Madrid, one of LaLiga’s greatest clubs will come to Nigeria and give our fans the chance to enjoy watching their stars up close. Africa and Nigeria, in particular, are very important for us as there is a lot of love for Spanish football, something we are proud of.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Martin Mabutho, General Manager, Sales and Marketing, MultiChoice Nigeria said: “We are delighted to bring one of the three biggest clubs from LaLiga to Nigeria in what we believe will be a historic visit. Atletico Madrid are one of the top clubs in LaLiga and GOtv customers and indeed all football fans in Nigeria, will have the rare opportunity of watching the stars play the Super Eagles right here on Nigerian soil”.
Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, has been buzzing with excitement since the news of the visit broke, with fans expressing their desire to be at the stadium for the match.