BENIN CITY – THE National Chairman of Nigerian Football Supporters Club, Rev Samuel Ikpea on Sunday said 53 years after their first visit, Brazilian giants, Santos FC were back in Nigeria to commemorate their first coming and strengthen the relationship between the two countries for talent exchange.
Briefing newsmen shortly after the team’s arrival in Benin City, Ikpea said “Santos is one of the biggest clubs in Brazil that has produced several big players including the legendary Pele. It is also for them to come here and see how they can help develop sports here in Nigeria and we want see how this can be used to develop sports in Edo state.
“This match is to celebrate Africa; 53 years ago in 1969 this team came here to play and it was during the Nigerian civil war and because of that match, there was a ceasefire in Nigeria for 48 hours so in commemoration of that, a game will be played between Bendel Insurance and Santos.
“Some of the players will also be given the opportunity to visit Santos Football club in Brazil, we hope this will beneficial to Edo State, Nigeria and Brazil”
On his part, the Edo State FA chairman, Comrade Roland Abu promised a peaceful stay of the club in Benin City and said the Deputy Governor of the state, Comrade Philip Shaibu has promised to play in the friendly match between the two teams.
The Head of Product Marketing of Santos FC, Fabio Guerreiro said they were in Nigeria to solidify the relationship between their club and Nigeria even as he announced Ikpea as Santos Club Representative in Edo state.
He said the club’s new jersey which he said was the third in the history of the club’s 110 years existence has some features promoting the African continent.
In the Brazilian entourage were two members of the squad that visited Nigeria in 1969 namely Manuel Maria and Edu who played in three world cups and Fernando Secco who represented the president of the club, Andres Rueda.