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AFCON

Sao Tome & Principe ease qualification path for Super Eagles

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Sierra Leone forced Sao Tome and Principe to a 2-2 draw in a Group A qualifiers of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations played at the Grand Stade Agadir in Morocco.

The score line has boosted the chances of table-toppers, the Super Eagles who will host Guinea Bissau on Friday.

The 2-2 draw narrows the possibility of Sierra Leone catching up with Nigeria in the Group. It was the first point that Sao Tome and Principe obtained from the group.

Sierra Leone total haule is now two points.

Sierra Leone had to come from behind twice to pick the draw in what was their home match.

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“It is a really disappointing result but credit to Sao Tome because they battled hard and made the game difficult for us.

“It is disappointing but it is not over yet. We have the return leg and after that we have two more games to go.

“We showed the Sierra Leonian spirit to keep fighting until the very end. We go again, regroup rest recover and focus on getting a result in the next match,” skipper Steve Caulker said.

His sentiments were echoed by coach John Keister.

“This result is difficult to take in. We got ourselves to blame. We didn’t start very well in the first half and we caused ourselves some problems. In the second half we didn’t take the chances we had and this is the cruel side of football,” said the coach.

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Sao Tome were delighted with the result, with Ferreira Soares praising his teammates for their hard work.

“It was a tough game and we knew were playing a tough team with ore experience than us. But, we worked hard and got a good result. Of course we would have loved to win but it was not possible. Now we focus on the next match.”

Sao Tome had picked a shock lead two minutes to the break when Luis Leal connected from an Adjeil da Gloria pass.

Sierra Leone regrouped in the second half and equalized through Mustapha Bundu three minutes after the restart when he reacted quickest to a spilled ball.

But, Sao Tome re-took the lead when Leal completed his brace, running on to a through ball before dinking it over the keeper. He would have grabbed a hattrick minutes later, but his brilliant shot from range was turned behind by the keeper.

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Sierra Leone however fought to get back on level terms, Abu Komeh powering home from inside the box off an Alhaji Kamara squared ball.

With back to back draws, Sierra Leone remain third in the standings with two points while Sao Tome are bottom of Group A with their first point of the qualifiers.

Both teams will remain in Agadir for the reversed fixture on Sunday.

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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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AFCON

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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AFCON

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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