Nigerian football fans who are in Russia for the World Cup asked permission from the authorities of the Kaliningrad region to bring live chickens to the match of their team, minister of culture and tourism in the region Andrei Ermak told reporters.
According to Nigeria’s Daily Post, Ermak told the fans it would be “impossible” for him to allow them to bring live chickens to stadiums for World Cup matches.
Ermak did compromise, telling Nigerians if they want to watch matches at venues other than the official stadiums, “we will of course advise them where the chicken can be bought. We are ready to satisfy the most eccentric inquiries”.
The Nigerian fans told Ermak chickens were the team’s symbol.
While it is the mighty eagle, not the humble chicken, which serves as the team’s official symbol, the team’s supporters believe a live chicken painted in green and white will bring good luck to the team.
Eagles are presumably a little harder to come by and harder to bring to live football games than their clucking counterparts.
The Kaliningrad Stadium is the venue of Super Eagles’ World Cup opener against Croatia. The match will take place on Saturday at 8pm.
Nigerian supporters have a history of trying to bring live chickens to World Cup football matches. Eight years ago they were denied entry at Ellis Park stadium after refusing to abandon the live poultry, painted green, that they had brought along to their match against Argentina.
Whether the chickens were denied entry because of antibird policy on the part of Fifa or because they didn’t have tickets is unclear.
On that occasion, Nigeria went on to lose 1-0 to Argentina. Whether or not their loss was due to the lack of chickens in the stadium at the time has not been confirmed either.