Less than 2,000 spectators may be in attendance when Super Eagles of Nigeria take on the Taranga Lions of Senegal in a friendly match on Thursday at The Hive, the home ground of League 2 sides, Barnet and London Bees.
The poor attendance has nothing to do with the Wednesday’s terror attack in Westminster area of London.
Information from The Mail of London revealed that ticket sale for the otherwise African high profile encounter had been poor. According the report, “with entry as little as £10 for adults in some areas, and £5 for under-14s, and such a plethora of Premier League stars on show, you would hope for a decent turn-out, given the dearth of quality football available during an international break.”
The Hive holds a little over 6,000 fans, is incredibly easy to access by public transport, and is convenient for many of London’s vast number of football supporters. Surely it should be full for a showpiece fixture, even if it is a friendly?
But sales have been sluggish, perhaps because few fans know the game is even due to happen. Behind the goal at one end, in the most central block, just 11 of the 480 tickets have been sold, while along one side of the pitch there are blocks where not a seat has been taken.
The encounter is expected to see some Premiership players in action. The Super Eagles will have Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Leicester’s duo of Wilfred Ndidi and Ahmed Musa in action.
Senegal too is not short in Premiership players. Stars like Sadio Mane, Idrissa Gueye, Cheikhou Kouyate, Alfred N’Diaye and Mame Biram Diouf will be on parade.
This is the first time Nigeria will be playing at The Hive, previous matches having been at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.
The Hive, being a League 2 grounds, is not only far less expensive to hire than some of the bigger stadiums, it also has on-site training facilities, which make it a one-stop shop for travelling teams. Coupled with a large British-Nigerian population in London – the 2011 census suggested over 100,000 Nigerian-born Brits live in the capital – it seems a decent prospect.