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Momentum gathers for Man U trip

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Manchester United announce their match against Portsmouth in Nigeria

Preparations are gathering steam for the tournament that will see Manchester United play in Nigeria at the end of July.

Pictured above is the news conference earlier this month where it was announced that the European champions will play fellow English Premier League side Portsmouth in a friendly match.

The game will be part of the Tinapa invitational tournament scheduled for 23-28 July, which will also feature Nigeria's national team and a selected side from the Nigerian domestic league.

Manchester United have told BBC Sport that they will only be playing the one game, against Portsmouth.

Portsmouth themselves are also set to play the winner of a game between the Super Eagles and the local club, which will be chosen by fans in a text message vote.

The tournament is being organised by the Tinapa Business Resort, whose managing director Bassey Ndem says that it will be staged in Abuja as well as in Calabar, in the south-east of the country.

Ryan Giggs
Nigerians are looking forward to seeing Man United's top players
A five-man delegation from England is presently in Nigeria to inspect facilities ahead of the tournament.

English Premier League chairman Sir David Richards, Portsmouth's chief operating officer Bruce Vandenberg and Manchester United secretary Ken Ramsden are part of the delegation.

Ramsden said his team are looking forward to the visit of Nigeria.

"Our club are always keen to visit new places and this tournament will provide a climax to our summer tour, after the Vodacom Challenge in South Africa," said Ramsden.

Manchester United say that Nigeria provides their fourth-largest fan base, with 13.6 million supporters, and that the game in Abuja is an opportunity for us to say thank you to their fans.

Some of United's top players are expected to take part in the game against Portsmouth, but striker Cristiano Ronaldo is out of the reckoning, as he will be given time to rest after Portugal's campaign at Euro 2008.




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