The Charleston Battery announced Friday morning that the will be Traveling to Atlanta July 16th to take on Nigeria at Silverbacks Park. The friendly tune-up match will take place just three weeks before the Nigerians’ opening match of the Olympic games in Brazil.
The match will be the second international friendly for the Battery in just two weeks time, with the club taking on the Scottish Premier League’s Rangers F.C July 6th.
Atlanta will serve as a base of operations for Nigeria’s Olympic preparations, a move coordinated by Georgia based marketing group United Soccer Africa.
United Soccer Africa was founded by Olubunmi Jinadu, senior advisor of the Dekalb County Africa Initiative, with the stated purpose of,
“providing gateway services for African Football Federations into the North American sports market. We develop and execute strategies aimed at supporting football (soccer) teams to maximize their potential by utilizing state of the art techniques in sports science and training.”
The Nigerians will spend a total of five weeks in the Atlanta area, holding training camp from June 22nd - August 21st. It will be Nigeria’s first trip to the city since thier magical Gold Medal run at the 1996 Olympics, which made them the first African nation to ever win a major world tournament.
The Olympic squad will be made up primarily of U23 players, likely including Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, and three players over the age of 23.
Battery Coach Mike Anhaeuser on the match:
“We’re excited to play against the number one U23 team in Africa. The match gives us an opportunity to play against a team that will be competing for a gold medal in August while we get to see some of the most talented young players in Nigeria.”
The match will provide Atlanta United Supporters the exciting opportunity of seeing some of their club’s first signings in action, without having to make the drive down to Charleston. In addition to Keeper Alex Tambakis, who has found an abundance of playing time with the Battery, 19-year-old Ghanaian striker Jeffery Otoo has been sent to Charleston on loan. There is also a real possibility of seeing homegrown signing Andrew Carleton back in the black and yellow in the near future, both Carleton and prospect Chris Goslin trained with the Battery preseason.