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AFCON

Full house in Eagles’ camp as team aims for early AFCON ticket

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All invited players are now in the camp of the Super Eagles in Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos as countdown begins for Sunday’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying showdown with the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Monrovia.

Table-toppers Nigeria, on nine points, will slug it out with the Leone Stars, four points behind and in third place, at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in Paynesville, Monrovia.

The 22,000 -capacity arena will witness fireworks from 5pm Nigeria time (4pm Liberia time) as the Super Eagles seek to reach the finals of the 34th Africa Cup of Nations, scheduled for Cote d’Ivoire early next year, with a game to spare.

For the last edition of Africa’s flagship football championship, the Super Eagles qualified for the finals with a game to spare after Paul Onuachu headed in with few minutes left against Benin Republic’s Guepards in Porto Novo.

Three-time champions Nigeria will fire from all cylinders at the Paynesville, conscious that second-placed Guinea Bissau, two points behind, are likely to inflict defeat on group whipping boys Sao Tome and Principe in the other match of the pool.

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In the last weeks of 2020, the Leone Stars famously came from 4-1 down to draw 4-4 with the Super Eagles at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City in another Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match (Cameroon 2021), and few days later, held the Eagles to a barren draw at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown.

When both teams clashed on Day 1 of the ongoing series at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja a year ago, the Leone Stars drew the first blood before goals by Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen put Nigeria in the driving seat. The Eagles flew to Agadir, Morocco some days later to inflict a 10-0 defeat on Sao Tome and Principe, in the event setting a new international win-record.

The Confederation of African Football has appointed Sudanese official Mahmood Ali Ismail as the referee for Sunday’s encounter, with his compatriot Mohammed Abdallah Ibrahim as assistant referee 1. Liban Abdourazak Ahmed from Djibouti will serve as assistant referee 2, with Mohamed Diraneh Guedi, also from Djibouti, in the role of fourth official.

Gambian Bakary Jammeh will be the commissioner while Kokou Djaoupe from Togo will serve as referee assessor.  

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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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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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