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Floored twice in two months, South Africa tremble ahead of treble with Nigeria

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Sadiq Umar, Ndidi And Awoniyi Return To Super Eagles As NFF Secure Friendly Duel With Ghana And Mali In Morocco -

Exactly four months after they were bumped and relegated to the third-place match of the Africa Cup of Nations by the Super Eagles, South Africa’s Bafana Bafana are in jitters as they will come up against the three-time African champions again, in a crucial 2026 World Cup qualifying match in Uyo.

Only three days ago, the Super Falcons pushed the Banyana Banyana, reigning African champions, off the bus to this year’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, instead grabbing the ticket to make sure of a first appearance at the glamour tournament for the first time in 16 years.

The assured manner of Nigeria’s victories in the two fixtures have left the hierarchy of South African football flummoxed, and there is no adequate time to recover or rejig strategies before the Bafana Bafana come up against the Super Eagles in a Day 3 encounter of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying series at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Friday, 7th June.

With two points from their previous two matches, but aware of the hold they have over the Bafana Bafana, the African vice champions are confident of the three points on the day, which could see them fly to the top of the pool.

It was on 7th February at the Stade de la Paix, Bouake that the Super Eagles kicked Bafana to the third-place match of the 34th Africa Cup of Nations. Despite achieving parity late in the game, the Bafana were cut to size during the penalty shootout with Nigeria’s South Africa-based goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali saving two of the kicks by the Bafana.

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South Africans’ boasts of bouncing the Super Falcons in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament fixture in revenge, ended belly-up with the Banyana failing to score a goal in 180 minutes of action, with the two teams separated by Rasheedat Ajibade’s goal from the penalty spot in Abuja on Friday, 5th April.

Despite being a point ahead of the Super Eagles in their World Cup qualifying group, the Bafana will fall behind once they submit to the superior strength, skill and savvy of the Super Eagles on another Friday in June.

It can be recalled that when the two teams also met at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019, at the quarter-final stage, Nigeria triumphed 2-1 in Cairo.

Players of the Super Eagles are already getting in the mood to deliver the big punches to Bafana in Uyo in a few weeks’ time. Only on Thursday night, top striker Victor Boniface returned from the injury that kept him out of the AFCON, by coming off the bench to score in Bayer Leverkusen’s Europa League quarter-final duel with West Ham of England.

African Player of the Year Victor Osimhen has also been unable to stop scoring for his Italian Serie A side, SC Napoli.

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Goalkeeper Nwabali remains in awesome shape, and midfielder Alex Iwobi and Ademola Lookman shone brightly in the defeat of Ghana in a friendly in Morocco last month.

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.

World Cup

CAF confirm dates and times for June’s World Cup 2026 African Qualifiers

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The African Nations will resume their road to qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2026 next week.

Match Day 3 and Match Day 4 of the Qualifiers will be played between 05-11 June 2024.

Nine African teams are guaranteed to compete at the World Cup. Another will participate in the Play-off Tournament as the global showpiece will host 48 teams for the first time ever.

Winners of each Group will automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup™ 2026.

The four best runners-up (from the Groups) will play in a CAF Play-Off tournament.

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The winner of the CAF Play-Off Tournament will play in the FIFA Play-off Tournament.

Below are the fixtures for the matches to be played over the next seven days. (all kick-off times in GMT)

Match Day 3

Wednesday – 05 June, 2024

Sierra Leone v Djibouti (Group A) | 1600 | El Jadida, Morocco

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Togo v South Sudan (Group B) | 1600 | Lome, Togo

Central African Republic v Chad (Group I) | 1600 | Oujda, Morocco

Namibia v Liberia (Group H) | 1600 | Johannesburg, South Africa

Tunisia v Equatorial Guinea (Group H) | 1900 | Rades, Tunisia

Thursday – 06 June, 2024

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Malawi v  Sao Tome e Principe  (Group H) | 1300 | Lilongwe, Malawi

Guinea Bissau v Ethiopia (Group A) | 1600 | Bissau, Guinea Bissau

Mauritania v Sudan (Group B) | 1600 | Nouakchott, Mauritania

Libya v Mauritius (Group D) | 1600 | Tripoli, Libya

Congo v Niger (Group E) | 1600 | Kinshasa, DR Congo

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Egypt v Burkina Faso (Group A) | 1900 | Cairo, Egypt

Senegal v DR Congo (Group B) | 1900 | Diamniadio, Senegal

Benin v Rwanda (Group C) | 1900 | Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

Algeria v Guinea (Group G) | 1900 | Algiers, Algeria

Mali v Ghana (Group I) | 1900 | Bamako, Mali

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Friday – 07 June, 2024

Zimbabwe v Lesotho (Group C) | 1300 | Johannesburg, South Africa

Mozambique v Somalia (Group G) | 1300 | Maputo, Mozambique

Kenya  v Burundi (Group F) | 1300 | Lilongwe, Malawi

Uganda v Botswana (Group G) | 1600 | Namboole, Uganda

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Madagascar v Comoros (Group I) | 1600 | Johannesburg, South Africa

Angola v Eswatini (Group D) | 1600 | Luanda, Angola

Nigeria v South Africa (Group C) | 1900 | Uyo, Nigeria

Morocco v Zambia (Group E) | 1900 | Agadir, Morocco

Cote d’Ivoire v Gabon  (Group F) | 1900 | Korhogo, Cote d’Ivoire

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Saturday – 08 June, 2024

Cameroon v Cape Verde (Group D) | 1300 | Douala, Cameroon

Gambia v Seychelles (Group F) | 1600 | Berkane, Morocco

Match Day 4

Sunday – 09 June, 2024

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Sao Tome e Principe  v Liberia  (Group H) | 1300 | Oudja, Morocco

Djibouti v Ethiopia (Group A) | 1600 | El Jadida, Morocco

Congo DR v Togo (Group B) | 1600 | Kinshasa, DR Congo

Mauritania v Senegal (Group B) | 1600 | Nouachott, Mauritania

Namibia  v Tunisia  (Group H) | 1600 | Johannesburg, South Africa

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Monday – 10 June, 2024

Somalia v Botswana (Group G) | 1300 | Maputo, Mozambique

Equatorial Guinea  v Malawi  (Group H) | 1300 | Malabo, Equatorial Guinea 

Madagascar v Mali (Group I) | 1300 | Johannesburg, South Africa

Guinea Bissau v Egypt (Group A) | 1600 | Bissau, Guinea Bissau

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Benin v Nigeria (Group C) | 1600 | Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

Uganda v Algeria  (Group G) | 1600 | Namboole, Uganda

Guinea  v Mozambique (Group G) | 1900 | El Jadida, Morocco

Ghana  v Central African Republic  (Group I) | 1900 | Kumasi, Ghana

Burkina Faso v Sierra Leone (Group A) | 1900 | Bamako, Mali

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Tuesday – 11 June, 2024

South Sudan v Sudan (Group B) | 1300 | Juba, South Sudan

Mauritius v Eswatini (Group G) | 1300 | St. Pierre, Mauritius

Zambia v  Tanzania (Group E) | 1300 | Ndola, Zambia

Kenya v Cote d’Ivoire (Group F) | 1300 | Lilongwe, Malawi

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Lesotho v Rwanda (Group C) | 1600 | Durban, South Africa

Cape Verde  v Libya (Group D) | 1600 | Praia, Cape Verde

South Africa v Zimbabwe (Group C) | 1600 | Bloemfontein, South Africa

Congo v Morocco (Group E) | 1600 | Kinshasa, DR Congo

Chad v Comoros (Group I) | 1600 | Oujda, Morocco

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Angola v Cameroon (Group D) | 1900 | Luanda, Angola

Gabon v Gambia (Group F) | 1900 | Franceville, Gabon

Seychelles v Burundi (Group F) | 1900 | Berkane, Morocco

-CAF

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South Africa, Benin Republic get good news as Osimhen is out of World Cup duels

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BREAKING! Osimhen Left Behind As Super Eagles Depart For Bouake -

Reigning African footballer of the year, Victor Osimhen, has been ruled out of the two World Cup qualifying matches Nigeria will play in June against South Africa and Benin Republic.

 According to Soccernet.ng, the striker is injured. The Super Eagles who had a bad head-start in the qualifiers are due to play what is potentially their most difficult game in the 10-match series as they confront South Africa in Uyo on June 7.

The Nigerian side is currently third on the log of Group C which they were the initial favourites to lead all throughout.

 Osimhen, who missed the first two matches of the qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe will therefore miss another two match days. He was the initial choice to anchor Nigeria’s strike force.

  In his absence, Coach Finidi George has reportedly turned to the local league where he picked Enugu Rangers defender, Kenneth Igboke in place of the striker.

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Exclusive: Rohr names his squad to face Super Eagles in World Cup qualifiers

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Gernot Rohr, Benin Repuyblic coach

Former Nigeria manager now working for the opposition, Gernot Rohr has named his Benin Republic team to face Super Eagles on 10th June.

In the squad are 19 professionals playing at various clubs in Europe and six home based players drawn from local league.

Rohr said at a press conference that he was confident the boys will beat the Super Eagles. The team is expected to leave Cotonou for Abidjan on Monday and train on the same pitch where they will face the Super Eagles.

The Super Eagles played some of their matches at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium during the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

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