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AFCON

Group A Table Topping Is Our Goal, Says Peseiro Ahead Of Nigeria’s 100th AFCON Match –

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Nigeria’s Peseiro Eyes End Of Goal Drought Against Cameroon -

Coach José Santos Peseiro insisted on Sunday that despite looking good for a spot in the Round of 16 with their four points following the defeat of host nation Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday, Nigeria will not take their feet off the pedal when they clash with Guinea Bissau on Monday evening.

 

“We defeated Cote d’Ivoire, but that is already in the past. We know that in football, what counts is the moment. We must temper our confidence, and put in more work as required. We must not rest.

 

“We want to take the first place and for that, we must do battle. We must do what is necessary to accomplish our mission tomorrow,” Peseiro said at the pre-match conference at the Palais de la Culture in the Treichville area of Abidjan on Sunday.

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Peseiro will lead Nigeria to come face-to-face with the only team to have beaten his Super Eagles in a competitive match since he took the reins of the three-time African champions 20 months ago.

 

With four points from their first two matches, including a morale-pumping victory over the host nation and one of the favourites, the Eagles are walking with springs in their steps at their Pullman Hotel Abidjan and at their training sessions at the École National de la Police. But Peseiro cautions that the work is not yet done and there is utmost need for level heads.

 

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“We have to forget that we defeated the host nation. There is a lot more work to be done. We want to be here for the long haul,” he told thenff.com after the press conference.

 

Peseiro won his first two competitive games with the Super Eagles – a 2-1 defeat of Sierra Leone in Abuja and a record-breaking international win of 10—0 against Sao Tome and Principe in Agadir, Morocco in June 2022.

 

However, the Wild Dogs stepped on Nigeria soil and pipped the Eagles 1-0 in an AFCON 2023 qualifier. Nigeria repaid the compliment a few days later in Bissau, but the Portuguese trainer says the Portuguese-speaking nation still owes him a clapback.

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“We are not thinking about revenge but we are here to top the group and they are in our sights. We must do what has to be done. Guinea Bissau have no point and will play with freedom, and that is when a team becomes dangerous.”

 

Both teams clash at the Stade Félix Houphoüet-Boigny in central Abidjan from 5pm CIV time on Monday, which is 6pm Nigeria time.

 

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In their other competitive games under Peseiro, the Eagles have defeated Sierra Leone 3-2 in Monrovia, beaten Sao Tome and Principe 6-0 in Uyo, drawn 1-1 with Lesotho and Zimbabwe in FIFA World Cup qualifiers and drawn 1-1 with Equatorial Guinea while pipping Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 here at the AFCON.

 

Monday’s crucial game, which will be Nigeria’s 100th match at the Africa Cup of Nations since a group phase encounter against Egypt in nearby Ghana in 1963, will see the Super Eagles finish top of group A with a win, as long as Equatorial Guinea, also on four points, do not humiliate host nation Cote d’Ivoire at an encounter holding simultaneously at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara in Ebimpe.

 

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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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Liberia, Eswatini hold upper hand in AFCON 2025 preliminary qualifiers –

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Liberia, Eswatini Hold Upper Hand In AFCON 2025 Preliminary Qualifiers -

After commanding victories in the first leg matches of the Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2025, qualifiers, Chad, Liberia, and Eswatini find themselves in advantageous positions as they gear up for the return fixtures scheduled for Tuesday.

As the second leg of the preliminary fixtures approach, all eyes will be on these teams as they vie for their coveted spots in the group phase of the qualifiers, with the hopes of making their mark on the continental stage.

Chad emerged victorious with a narrow 1-0 win over Mauritius, joining Liberia and Eswatini in the lead after their impressive triumphs earlier last week.

Liberia secured a 2-0 victory against Djibouti, while Eswatini displayed their dominance with a 3-0 win over Somalia.

The second leg promises to be fiercely contested, particularly for Chad, who will face a challenging encounter against Mauritius on the latter’s home turf.

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Coach Kevin Nicaise’s players are keen to defend their slender lead and secure their spot in the next phase of the qualifiers but the trainer admits they have an arduous task.

“We are far from perfect, far from being a top team in the world. We are in the construction phase. There are still things to work on and improve,” coach Nicaise said after their first-leg win.

“It is not overnight that we will be a top team in the world, we are aware of that, however we are working hard with the group and the staff to achieve this goal.”

Meanwhile, Liberia will host Djibouti, aiming to build on their first-leg success and seal their progression to the next round.

Eswatini will host Somalia with confidence, seeking to maintain their winning momentum and secure passage to the next stage of the tournament.

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South Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe will also face off in what is expected to be a closely contested encounter, following their goalless draw in the first leg.

With both teams eager for victory, the match promises to be a thrilling battle for supremacy.

-CAF

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Liberia and Eswatini take control of AFCON preliminary ties

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Liberia and Eswatini take control of AFCON preliminary ties

Liberia and Eswatini took commanding leads in their respective Africa Cup of Nations, Morocco 2025, preliminary round ties after claiming impressive away victories on Wednesday.

Liberia captain Murphy Dorley scored one of two first-half goals as the Lone Stars defeated hosts Djibouti 2-0 in the opening leg in  Marrakech.

Mohammed Sangare broke the deadlock from the penalty spot on 23 minutes before Dorley coolly slotted home Sebastian Teclar’s cross 12 minutes later.

Djibouti struggled to lay a glove on their more illustrious opponents as the Lone Star side kept them at bay to take two away goals into next week’s second leg in Monrovia.

Eswatini were also celebrating after demolishing Somalia 3-0 in the Moroccoan  city of El Jadida to put one foot in the group stage qualifiers.

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Striker Sabelo Ndzinisa was the hero, netting twice either side of Felicio Figuareido’s 40th minute opener for the visitors.

Somalia now face an uphill battle to qualify when they travel to the Mbombela Stadium in the South African city of Nelspruit for the return on March 26th.

The opening leg victories give Liberia and Eswatini a huge advantage heading into the second legs as they target a place in the group stage on the road to next year’s finals in Morocco.

Back from the locker room, Somalia still couldn’t play its game.

Worse, Eswatini widened the gap with Ginindza who scored his double of the evening in the 56th minute. 3-0, the score remained unchanged on the scoreboard until the final whistle.

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Victory for Eswatini which will still have to perform in the return leg to ensure its qualification for the qualifiers.

 

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Road to Morocco 2025 begins today

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Liberia and Eswatini take control of AFCON preliminary ties

Following last month’s grand closing to the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations held in Cote d’Ivoire where the hosts were crowned champions for the third time, Africa’s biggest competition is now shifting its focus to the 35th edition set to be held in Morocco next year.

A total of 52 Nations will be engaged to compete for a place in the 24-nation competition.

To mark the start of the qualifiers following the draw that was held in Cairo on 20 February 2024, eight lowest ranked nations will compete in the Preliminary Qualifiers starting on Wednesday, 20 March over a two-legged format that will decide the four nations that will join the other 44 African nations to make up the group stages of the qualifiers.

The CAF AFCON Morocco 2025 journey officially gets underway on Wednesday, 20 March with two fixtures as Somalia plays host to Eswatini, while Djibouti faces Liberia.

Two days later, Chad locks horns with Mauritius before Sao Tome and Principe takes on South Sudan.

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The return legs will conclude on Tuesday, 26 March with all matches set to take place on the day to officially decide the preliminary phase of the competition.

 

 AFCON Morocco 2025 Preliminary Qualifiers:

First Leg Fixtures:

Wednesday, 20 March 

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  • 18:00 GMT | Somalia – Eswatini
  • 22:00 GMT | Djibouti – Liberia

 

Friday, 22 March

  • 18:00 GMT | Chad – Mauritius
  • 19:00 GMT | Sao Tome and Principe – South Sudan

 

Return Leg Fixtures:

Tuesday, 26 March

  • 13:00 GMT | Eswatini – Somalia
  • 16:00 GMT | Liberia – Djibouti
  • 17:00 GMT | South Sudan – Sao Tome and Principe
  • 15:00 GMT | Mauritius – Chad
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