December 22, 2014

Lagos fans thrilled by visit from Arsenal players

Arsenal fans in Lagos got quite the treat on Sunday when star club players, defender Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker and new signing Lukas Podolski visited Nigeria’s commercial capital for the launch of the Malta Guinness Low Sugar Workout.

The event took place at the Ball Room of the Eko Hotel in Lagos where Gunner fans hung out with the star players. Arsenal forward Tomas Rosicky who was slated to be at the launch was the only no-show after sustaining an injury in a preseason game.

The trio who did attend entertained fans with a little dance off, led by Nigerian dance star Kaffi. The Senegalese born French right back, Sagna, described the experience with fans as wonderful, saying he hoped to visit again next year.

“I am quite happy to be here (Nigeria); it’s a homecoming for me. I’m back to my roots because I am black and from Senegal,” Sagna said.

“Even if I am not Nigerian, we are all brothers; we are blacks. Hopefully I will be part of the team when they visit again next year.”

Mertesacker, who also had a good time at the event, had words of admiration for former Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu, saying African players were very technical.

“I have only watched Kanu on TV and I believe he can be a role model to us at Arsenal. I played against a player like Chinedu Obasi in the Bundesliga; he is very technical, strong and quick,” he said.

The Gunner stars’ visit is part in consolation for canceling the highly anticipated preseason friendly, which would have taken place in Abuja on August 5.

Arsenal management had cancelled the friendly weeks ago, much to the disappointment of avid Nigerian fans of the English club. They cited complications with schedules, but many believe the games were cancelled due to security concerns.

The team has promised to visit Nigeria next year.

Malta Guiness Head of Innovation, Sola Oke, said there were plans to bring the entire Gunners team to the country in future, the Punch reported.

He said, “The rest of the squad are currently on pre-season tour; they all can’t be here at the same time. But sometime in the future, we will be bringing the team back to Nigeria again because of our partnership as the official malt drink of the club.”

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Pilot Africa News is run and edited by Chika Moses. A video journalist eager to find new, great and inspiring content in Nigeria and Africa. Got a story tip? Send a message!