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AFCON

South Africa Drawing Inspiration from Some Away Ties

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Perhaps it is a mind game. Timeslive, a South African publication has rolled out five away matches it considers as the best outings of Bafana Bafana,
It considered those matches as capable of inspiring the team in the potentially explosive encounter with Nigeria’s Super Eagles in Uyo on Saturday.
It however considered it as always tough to get a result in Nigeria for any visiting side‚ not least a South African selection that has never won there before. Nigeria will attempt to punctuate the 17-match unbeaten run that Bafana Bafana has been enjoying.
Here are five top class performances in the past that proved South Africa can overcome great odds to produce an unexpectedly positive result:

South Africa v Zimbabwe in Harare‚ July 2000:

The tragic death of spectators trampled as they fled in terror after callous police fired teargas at the stadium exits will always detract from the 2-0 win that South Africa achieved against a powerful Zimbabwe side at the National Sports Stadium in Harare in a 2002 World Cup qualifier.
Delron Buckley’s early goal stunned the home side‚ who had the likes of Peter Ndlovu‚ Benjani Mwarurwari‚ the Mugeyi twins and Kaitano Tembo in their line-up‚ and when they got a second with eight minutes left it proved the superiority of the Bafana side.
Unfortunately‚ the celebrations of the South African players proved provocative and were met by a hail of missiles from the irritated home fans.
Police then responded with teargas which saw the game abandoned but the result later verified by FIFA.

South Africa v Zambia in Lusaka‚ October 2006:
Under caretaker coach Pitso Mosimane‚ keeping the bench warm for Carlos Alberto Parreira‚ South Africa had made a disappointing start to the 2008 Nations Cup qualifiers by drawing 0-0 with Congo at Soccer City.
In their second game away at the Independence Stadium‚ they were given little chance as Zambia had a long-standing unbeaten record at the venue.
But skipper Aaron Mokoena powered home a 28th minute header and South Africa bossed the game to win 1-0 and end Zambia’s proud record.
Mosimane had Gavin Hunt along for the game as an advisor and Parreira came to watch too.

South Africa v Egypt in Cairo‚ June 2011:
This was the botched qualifying campaign for the 2012 finals.
Both Bafana and Egypt were embarrassingly upstaged by minnows Niger and Sierra Leone and Mosimane got the permutations wrong and duffed qualification.
But the games against the Egyptians proved a feather in the cap of the beleaguered coach‚ even if the game at Ellis Park versus the Pharaohs three months earlier was a hair raising affair for Bafana and they were most fortunate to snatch a last minute winner through Katlego Mphela.
But the return in Cairo saw the side superbly organised and defensively sound and to Egypt’s frustration there was no way past the defence of Khune‚ Ngconcga‚ Masilela‚ Sangweni and Gould.
With the draw‚ Egypt were out while South Africa just needed two points from the last two games against Niger and Sierra Leone.
They managed one.

South Africa v Sudan in Khartoum‚ September 2014:
Shakes Mashaba’s first game back was a delight for a small band of traveling fans in searing heat as Sibusiso Vilakazi came off the bench to emerge the hero with two goals in a 3-0 away triumph.
The win began the march to the 2015 Nations Cup finals.
Sudan looked strong in the first half but their defence‚ and goalkeeper in particular‚ went to seed after the break as Vilakazi‚ who replaced ineffective debutant Keegan Dolly‚ reacted quickest to stick away Thulani Hlatshwayo’s header from a corner.
Vilakazi followed it with a brilliant feint and shot to settle the result after an hour. Bongani Ndulula got the third after Thabo Matlaba’s efforts on the left.

South Africa v Nigeria in Uyo‚ November 2014:
Tokelo Rantie was on fire as he squandered an early chance but then broke down the left to score just before half-time and give South Africa an unlikely lead.
Three minutes into the second half it was 2-0 as Rantie out muscled the defence and weaved through for another. The impossible seemed likely!
But Nigeria pulled one back through Sone Aluko‚ then saw Reneilwe Letsholonyane got sent off‚ and right at the end beat a poorly-positioned Darren Keet with a low drive to equalise.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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AFCON

BREAKING! Nigeria Football Federation is finished with Finidi

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Following the poor run of the Super Eagles in the on going qualifying series for the 2026 World Cup which has seen the Super Eagles languishing almost at the bottom of a group in which they were previously the favourites, the Nigeria football Federation (NFF) that they has relieved Finidi George as the head coach of the national team.

Rising from a crisis-managing meeting, the NFF announced that it has resolved to employ an expatriate Technical Adviser for the Super Eagles in the coming weeks, ahead of the AFCON qualifiers and the remaining FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

 The deduction is that the tenure of Finidi George has come to an end after two competitive matches as a substantive coach and two others in friendly matches as a caretaker coach.

Also, the NFF resolved to beef up its Technical Department with more qualitative hands. Equally, the Technical and Development Sub-Committee will be re-jigged with immediate effect.

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Struggling Super Eagles to know AFCON 2025 qualifying round opponents in three weeks

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It has not been a pleasant outing so far for the Super Eagles in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. They have another nine months to wait to reset their arsenal.

But while the World Cup qualifying series go on recess, attention now focuses on the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series.

In exactly three weeks’ time, the Super Eagles will know their opponents in the qualification race for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Next year’s finals, which will be the 35th edition of Africa’s flagship football championship, will be staged by Morocco.

Preliminary stage survivors Chad, e-Swatini, Liberia and South Sudan will join 44 others for the draw that will hold at the SuperSport studios in Johannesburg, South Africa in the afternoon of Thursday, 4th July.

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The 48 countries will be drawn into 12 groups of four teams each, with the top two teams in each pool qualifying directly to the finals in Morocco.

The first two games of the qualification series will take place in the FIFA window in September (2nd – 10th), with two other matches in the window in October (7th – 15th) and the final two games in the November window (11th – 19th).

Nigeria’s Super Eagles are the runners up at the last edition.

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Date and venue fixed for draw for Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2025 Qualifiers

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The journey to the  CAF Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2025 will resume with the draw for the Qualifiers on Thursday, 04 July 2024, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The draw will be conducted at SuperSport studios in South Africa at 14h30 local time (15h30 Cairo time, 12h30 GMT).

48 Nations, including the four winners from the preliminary round (Chad, Eswatini, Liberia and South Sudan) will be drawn into 12 Groups of four teams each to battle it out for places at the finals.

Headlining the confirmed Nations for the draw are reigning African champions Cote d’Ivoire joined by Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, DR Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini and Ethiopia.

Others include Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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The qualifiers are scheduled to kick-off in September 2024 to determine the first 24 nations that will compete for Africa’s biggest event, the  CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco in 2025.

Fresh from the thrills and successes of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 where the host nation defied all odds to claim their third title, a line-up of intriguing matches is expected for the journey to the 35th edition of the showpiece continental sporting event.

In attendance will be selected CAF legends, representatives of the participating teams, members of the Local Organising Committee for Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2025 amongst others.

-CAF

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