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AFCON

West Africa takes the lion share as Cote d’Ivoire 2023 Afcon field is now complete

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

All the 24 teams expected at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations holding in Cote d’Ivoire in January have now emerged. Five-time champions, Cameroon were the last qualifiers when they laboured to a 2-0 win against lowly ranked Burundi on Tuesday night in Garoua, northern Cameroon.

Burundi needed just a draw to upstage Cameroon and looked on course for a dramatic qualification at the end of the first half. Returnee goalkeeper, Andre Onana had to pull many dangerous saves before Cameroon turned the game around in the second half.

Cameroon are therefore returning to Cote d’Ivoire where they first won the title nearly 40 years ago after beating Nigeria 3-1 at the final.

With their qualification, a formidable field of 12 former champions is established. That is half of the entire field. In addition, all the first currently top 16 ranked teams are in the fold of 24.

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Egypt, the most successful team in the competition, having won seven times are back, hunting for a eighth victory. In-form Super Eagles, who last won the title 10 years ago, are hoping for a fourth title.

Tanzania are also back for the second time after a long wait from 1980 to 2019. West Africa will be presenting a strong field of 11 that include Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Cape Verde and The Gambia.

That leaves  the other regions of North, South, East and Central Africa sharing the remaining 14 slots.  From North Africa, Morocco leads a field of four that include Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt.

Central Africa have three teams – Cameroon, Congo DR and Equatorial Guinea. From Southern Africa are the quintet of South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.

Tanzania is the only team from East Africa.  The final draw will hold on 12 October  in Abidjan. The complete field runs thus:

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Cote d’Ivoire (hosts), Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo DR, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia

 

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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