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Third term coach of Central African Republic seeks first victory at Nigeria encounter

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Raoul Savoy

Raoul Savoy, the Spanish-Swiss coach of Central African Republic (CAR) may be under intense pressure ahead of the World Cup qualifying match with Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.

He is back at the helm for a third time after his recent reappointment. Two matches have been played without a win.

The third match in his third coming is against the Group C leaders Nigeria and right inside the Super Eagles’ home nest.

His latest contract, after taking over the Les Fauves, is on a two-year contract.

He blew the first chance, playing in the adopted home ground of CAR in Douala after barely forcing a draw. Holding on grimly in the next match in Liberia, the team capitulated with barely four minutes to the end of regulation time.

A loss of the thrid match, which is against the Super Eagles will most likely rule out the team of the 48-year old coach from qualifying from the group.

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The man who had previously coached Ethiopia, Eswatini and The Gambia, described the Central African Republic as ‘my home’.

“I’m feeling well with the atmosphere, the people and the mentality.

“We’re in a right way when I left two years ago. It was time to travel again together.”

Despite the immediacy of the World Cup qualifiers, Savoy declared his primary objective will be qualifying for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire.

“The AFCON is our main goal. We can do it and it’s just a question of working hard and the full commitment of our international players.”

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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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