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AFC0N 2021 ghost… as Nigeria draw Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau in 2023 qualifiers

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Nigeria’s path to Cote d’Ivoire 2023 Africa Cup of Nations will be a familiar one as the Super Eagles are drawn in Group A of the qualifiers along with Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome.

Nigeria faced the first two in the 2021 edition, meeting Sierra Leone twice in the qualifiers and beating Guinea Bissau 2-0 in the group stage of the final competition in Garoua, Cameroon.

Incidentally, since Nigeria beat Guinea Bissau 2-0 on 19 January. The Super Eagles have since gone three matches – against Tunisia, and twice with Ghana – without winning any.

Their qualifying match for the 2021 edition against Sierra Leone was also intriguing. They squandered a 30-minute 4-0 lead and eventually drew 4-4.

Never since their 6-2 loss against Egypt on 13 December 1959 have they conceded that massive number of goals at home. The Super Eagles eventually pulled a goalless draw in Sierra Leone in the 2021 Afcon qualifiers.

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They therefore have an unfinished task with Sierra Leone when the AFCON qualifiers begin in the May/June international window.

The last team in the Group A of the qualifiers is Sao Tome, a somewhat anonymous entity. The team will be attempting to make a debut at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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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