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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Eagles head to Iran
Eniwoke Ibagere
BBC Sport in Abuja

Striker Julius Aghahowa in action against England at the World Cup
Aghahowa could make a come-back
The Nigerian FA says it has arranged an intensive programme of friendlies, including games in Iran and Texas, as the Eagles prepare their most serious assault for years on the African Nations Cup.

NFA secretary-general Taiwo Ogunjobi said the friendlies, which are due to take place between July and November, will help return Nigeria to their former glory.

"My vision for the Eagles is to make them the formidable side that they were in the past," Ogunjobi told BBC Sport.

"And the starting point will be winning the Nations Cup trophy again in Tunisia, where we won it in 1994."

The Eagles are set to travel to Houston in Texas to face the national team of Ecuador on 5 July.

Friendly programme
05/07 - v Ecuador (Texas)
13-15/08 - 4nation (Iran)
20/08 - Japan (Japan)
26/08 - Poland (London)
12/10 - Mexico (USA)
19/10 - Tunisia (Tunisia)
Then in August, they will compete in a four-nation invitational tournament in Iran.

The team is set to travel from there to Japan for a match on 20 August.

The team's last met two years ago in Southampton in England in a 2-2 draw.

Nigeria are then due in London a week later to play Poland, where it is likely the Poles top striker, Emmanuel Olisadebe, will play against the country of his birth for the first time.

After a two-month break, the Eagles will resume action in November, when they go back to the United States to play Mexico, and then they go to Tunisia for the last match in a mammoth preparation plan.

Nigeria have a reputation for arranging friendly games and cancelling them at the last minute, and this ambitious schedule will again raise eyebrows.

But there has been an improvement in recent months with more games being honoured.

Ogunjobi maintains that all will take place.

"This time, we're working with a serious organisation which is ensuring these games will happen," he said.


SEE ALSO
Eagles learn Brazilian lesson
12 Jun 03  |  African
Nigeria trounced by Brazil
11 Jun 03  |  African
Nigeria qualify for World Cup
07 Jun 03  |  African

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