The Super Eagles of Nigeria may have charted a new mode of international passenger travel between Nigeria and the rest of West Africa with their trip by boat for an international soccer qualifying march with the Squirrels of Benin Republic on Friday, March 27.
The trip by boat became necessary due to the deplorable state of the Lagos-Seme international highway, and the multiple security agencies protocol along the international highway. They were also trying to avoid the tiresome protocols of air travel.
Having travelled to Benin Republic and returned also through the waterways, some of the Super Eagles players and officials shared their experience.
Speaking first about his experience on the trip, ex-Super Eagles captain and the assistant team coach, Joseph Yobo said: “First of all, we must thank the Lagos State Governor for making it possible for us to travel through the waterways. It was smooth; we enjoyed it and had some wonderful views.
“You know, it was something that we felt concerned initially. We did not really know what it was going to be like. But as we went through the waterways, we loved it. We were relaxed. That was why you saw the performance. We were relaxed, we were not stressed. So, it was a wonderful trip and we really enjoyed it.”
It was the same experience for the team captain Ahmed Musa. He said he was looking forward to making such trips in future: “It was wonderful and I really enjoyed it. I love it. This is my second time and I will love to do more of it because I think it is one of the best.”
Kelechi Iheanacho, Super Eagles and Leicester Football Club striker called on Nigerians to travel more using the waterways. He said: “It was a nice and smooth journey and I think people should be using the boats.”
Gernot Rohr, the Super Eagles coach said everything went smoothly for the over-an-hour international trip: He said they players were initially uncomfortable as the speed boats bopped on water, but as the journey progressed, they loosen up and had a wonderful experience.
The logistics and transportation was done by the Lagferry. The company put up a seamless end-to-end service that has received commendation of both the players and the officials.
Abdoulbaq Ladi Balogun, the managing director of the agency, in his reaction to the successful trip said: “We have put in place a lot of initiatives and physical infrastructure to encourage people to come on our waterways. We really see safety as paramount in every area of our operation; in every aspect of our operation, safety first, because with 20 million plus of Lagosians, there is no way we rely on road as the only mode of transportation .”
“Lagferry is doing wonderfully well. We are using this opportunity to tell the whole world, you can come and partner with Lagferry. You can take advantage of this; they should go on water. It is safe and enjoyable,” he concluded.