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“We’re here for serious business”, Super Eagles declare after landing in Liberia

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Nigeria’s delegation to Sunday’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying duel with Sierra Leone arrived in the Liberian capital, Monrovia on Saturday morning, aboard a chartered Air Peace airline Embraer 195.

The aircraft conveying the contingent of 23 players, technical and administrative staff and a few other officials led by President of NFF, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau, landed at the Roberts International Airport at 11.08am local time (12.08pm in Nigeria), and was received by the Ambassador of Nigeria to Liberia, Godfrey A. E. Odudigbo, the Head of Chancery, Ms Stella Ahumibe and a few other mission staff.

There were also members of the Nigerian community in Monrovia, led by Deacon Harrison Anikwu as well as officials of the Liberia Football Association.

President of NFF, Alhaji Gusau assured the embassy chieftains that the Super Eagles are in town for business.

“The team is here to work hard and take the three points. It will not be an easy game, but we have the players to do Nigeria proud by winning and qualifying for the next Africa Cup of Nations finals.”

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Head Coach José Santos Peseiro reiterated that neither himself nor the players are looking forward to a picnic at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium starting from 4pm Liberia time on Sunday.

“We know the Sierra Leoneans are also ambitious, that they want to win the three points and enhance their chances. It is our business to show that we want the three points better to qualify for the Africa Cup, and we are prepared to do that.

“We have to be at our very best.”

Presently, Nigeria is second in the pool with nine points from four matches, a point behind Guinea Bissau, who have played five matches and reached the top following their defeat of Sao Tome on Wednesday.

Victory for the Eagles on Sunday will lift them back to the top of the pile and guarantee presence at the 34th Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Cote d’Ivoire next year.

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Nigeria defeated Sierra Leone home and away (1-0 and 4-0) in the qualifying series for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa, and then defeated the Leone Stars 2-1 in a friendly match in Lagos in February 2011. In a WAFU Cup encounter in September 2017, the Eagles were 2-0 winners.

Both teams clashed twice in the qualifying series for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, with the Leone Stars coming from 1-4 down to draw 4-4 in Benin City, and then forcing a 0-0 draw in Freetown.

In this campaign, the Eagles came from behind to defeat the Leone Stars 2-1 at the MKO Abiola Stadium in June 2022, on the opening day of the series.

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.

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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