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AFCON

Musa dropped as Ola Aina and Uzoho return for Super Eagles’ dead rubber match with Sao Tome  

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

The duo of Ola Aina and goalkeeper Francis Uzoho have been recalled for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifiers last match day even as Ahmed Musa has been excluded.

The Super Eagles will on Sunday face an already eliminated Sao Tome as the Nigerian side hope to retain their leadership of the Group A.

They need just a draw to wave off any last minute upstage by second placed, but also qualified Guinea Bissau.

Ola Aina’s last competitive match with the Super Eagles is the first leg encounter with Sao Tome & Principe which the Nigerian side by a massive and record-making 10-0.

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He got cautioned in the match day 2 encounter and was ineligible in the matchday 3 which was the first leg match with Guinea Bissau in Abuja. Aina, like Uzoho, was cautioned on Match day 1 against Sierra Leone in Abuja.

He also missed the return match and was not called up for the return leg match with Sierra Leone.

Uzoho got his second caution in the return leg match against Guinea Bissau in which the yellow card, like an earlier one he got, was occasioned by time-wasting.

 

Also invited are the on-field captain William Ekong, defender Tyronne Ebuehi and Semi Ajayi.

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The midfielders are: Wilfred Ndidi and Frank Onyeka, while the attacking players include: Moses Simon, Victor Osimhen and Taiwo Awoniyi, among others.

Peseiro called up three goalkeepers (including home-based Olorunleke Ojo), eight defenders, four midfielders and eight forwards for the game, slated for the Godswill Akpabio Stadium on Sunday.

 

Nigeria, on 12 points from their previous five matches, are already guaranteed a place in the finals, but must earn at least a point to be sure of topping the group ahead of second-placed Guinea Bissau, who are on 10 points and play at home to Sierra Leone in Bissau.

ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:

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Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Omonia FC, Cyprus); Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba FC); Adebayo Adeleye (Hapoel Jerusalem, Israel)

 

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Nottingham Forest, England); Tyronne Ebuehi (Empoli FC, Italy); Jordan Torunarigha (KAA Gent, Belgium); William Ekong (PAOK FC, Greece); Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (Cardiff FC, Wales); Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC, Portugal)

 

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Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Joe Ayodele-Aribo (Southampton FC, England); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England)

 

Forwards: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest, England); Gift Orban (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Boniface (Bayern Leverkusen, Germany)

 

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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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