Emmanuel Ikpeme, head of the NFF's Technical Department, tells KickOffNigeria.com that it was to counter the effects of altitude on the squad.
“It is common knowledge that there are two ways of counter acting the effects of high altitude,” Ikpeme began. “Either to travel at least two weeks in advance, or go there 24 hours before the game.
“Obviously we cannot have all our players for two weeks before the game, so they will all report in Nigeria, train here and then fly to Ethiopia on a chartered aircraft that will convey our entire delegation.
“That will give them a chance to train on the pitch the day before and then play the game the next day.”
The last time both countries met in Addis Ababa, the itinerary was similar, although a refuelling stop-over at Entebbe in Uganda meant the team only arrived hours to kick off and were fortunate to escape with a 2-2 draw.