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Nigeria Face Tough Angola Test In AFCON Quarter-final Clash –

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Nigeria Face Tough Angola Test In AFCON Quarter-final Clash -

Nigeria will take on an unpredictable Angola side in the  Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals on Friday as they bid to reach the last four for the first time since 2019.

The clash at the Felix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan is the opening fixture of the AFCON last eight.

the Super Eagles dispatched arch rivals Cameroon 2-0 at the same venue in the round of 16 to reach the quarter-finals.

As three-time AFCON winners, Nigeria are expected to have too much quality and experience for their opponents on paper.

Victor Osimhen, recently crowned African Player of the Year, leads a Super Eagles attack along with the in-form Ademola Lookman. They also boast the meanest defence, having conceded just once.

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However, Angola will be full of confidence after surprisingly topping Group D unbeaten. This is their first quarter-final since hosting the 2010 tournament.

Led by star striker Gelson Dala, who netted twice against Namibia, Angola have one of the most potent attacks at AFCON 2023 with nine goals in four games.

Dala has warned Nigeria: “We will fight and make life hard for them. With our fans, we believe we can win.”

Angola coach Pedro Gonçalves added: “We respect Nigeria but fear nobody. The pressure is on them as favourites.”

Nigeria boss Jose Peseiro expects a tough test: “Angola are unpredictable with some very dangerous players. We cannot underestimate them.”

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This AFCON has been full of surprises, and another could be in store on Friday if revitalised Angola can defy the odds and giants Nigeria.

The kick-off for Nigeria vs. Angola is scheduled for 17:00 GMT.

What they said

Jose Peseiro, Nigeria’s Coach: “It’s a quarter-final match. Both teams want to reach the semi-finals. It will be a tough match; we will bring commitment and sacrifice to try to overcome this great team, even if it’s not a big name, to reach the semi-final.” “Angola is not a big name in Africa, but they play very well. They are not here by luck; they have shown a lot of capability to reach the quarter-finals. Our team has scored 5 goals in 4 matches so far. We will attack with 11 and defend with 11 as well.”

Alex Iwobi, Nigeria’s Midfielder: “We watched the videos. It will be a tough match. They won the last match with a large score, and we also defend well. We will give everything on the field to reach the semi-finals.” “We have to respect Angola a lot. If they are at this stage of the competition, it means they are a great team. We need the entire team to defend. It won’t be easy because it’s a team that scores a lot. I rely on my teammates to meet the challenge.”

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Pedro Gonçalves, Angola’s Coach: “This match means a lot for our team and for the entire Angolan nation, which has dreamed for years of seeing the team at this stage of the competition. We will face Nigeria, a great nation in African football… This match is an opportunity to show our worth; we have worked and given our all to reach this level of the competition. I congratulate my team, which has always been dedicated. The match is an opportunity to show that we have evolved.” “We respect Nigeria for what they have demonstrated so far in African football. Currently, Nigeria has a very strong team with players who play in major European leagues, such as the Premier League and Serie A… They use the best playing system to compete in this Africa Cup of Nations.”

Manuel Cafumana, Angola’s Player: “Tomorrow, we will have a match that will allow us to prove ourselves. I am proud of what we have accomplished since the beginning and especially the pride that we currently represent for our country… We will fight against Nigeria as we did in the first four matches. We will play as usual.”

 

-CAF

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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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