Delta to fly stranded Nigerian soccer team to Olympics

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Refugee Olympic Team Makes History

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Nigerian Olympic soccer team stranded in Atlanta will be able to play in the Olympic Games thanks to Delta.

The Nigeria U23 Olympic team is scheduled to play Japan at 9 p.m. Friday in Manaus, north of Rio where the Olympic Games are held.

“We are understanding of the seriousness of having the team arrive on time for the match,” Delta Air Lines spokesman Anthony Black told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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The team is scheduled to leave from Atlanta about 8 a.m. Thursday and arrive in Manaus 2 p.m.

The team won the Olympic gold 20 years ago in the 1996 Olympic Games and were aiming to recapture that moment, Black said.

According to the BBC, the Nigerian government sports ministry is responsible for booking the team's flight, but there was a logistical mix-up related to currency conversion.

“The money paid by the ministry for the charter flight did not hit (the) airline’s account on Tuesday so they refused to fly the team to Brazil,” a source close to the Nigeria Football Federation told the BBC.

The team has played in several fields across Atlanta including the Silverbacks Park in DeKalb County.