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AFCON

Ex Super Eagles coach Rohr fails to make winning debut with Benin Republic

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Gernot Rohr

Nigeria’s former coach, Gernot Rohr was disappointed not to make a winning start to his career as the Benin national team head coach.

Benin came from behind to force out a 1-1 draw with Rwanda on Match Day Three of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Wednesday.

Rohr took charge of the Benin Squirrels last month, and this was his first competitive match in charge.

Steve Mounie stepped off the bench to grab a late equalizer for the Beninese, who were powered through by a passionate home crowd at the Stade de l’Amitié in the capital Cotonou. Gilbert Mugisha had given Rwanda a first half lead.

Benin had a one-man advantage for the last half hour of the game after Hakim Sahabo was sent off for Rwanda on the hour mark

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On the balance of chances, Rohr believes his side should have won.

“We are extremely disappointed with the result., but what I liked was the behavior of the team. We had many clear chances but we did not score. We will analyze all of this on video, because I still wonder how we could not score a second goal. We ended up with seven offensive players. We are disappointed because we did not win,” the tactician said.

He added that he is impressed with the input of youngsters in the team and remains confident they can get a result in the return fixture in four days’ time.

Meanwhile, Rwanda’s Carlos Alos Ferrer rued the red card for his side, and believes they could have won with full compliments.

“I am not happy with the result because I think if we played 11 versus 11, we would have been better and we could take the three points. When we lost one player, it was difficult for us. We knew that Benin is a very physical team when playing crosses with very good strikers and it was not easy,” Rwanda’s Carlos Alos Ferrer said.

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He added; “But the point is good for us, we are still above Benin and we will try to do better at home. I want to congratulate the players. I am really proud of them they worked hard and did what I wanted.”

Veteran forward Mounie preserved a point for the home side with a late goal. He picked a loose ball inside the box in the 82nd minute before powering a volley past keeper Fiacre Ntwari.

Rwanda had been forced to play on the backfoot especially after forward Sahabo had been sent off for a second yellow card. He had been booked inside the first two minutes for having wrong undergarments and his second yellow card was for pulling.

Just before scoring, Mounie had come close severally, once with a header that had gone wide, while another bouncing from the edge of the six yard box skipped over.

They also had another close chance in the 71st minute when Tosin Ayegun’s connection at the backpost from Stephane Ssesegnon’s freekick went over.

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Rwanda had opened the scoring in the 13th minute through Gilbert Mugisha. The forward had scored on the second bite of the cherry after his initial effort was blocked by the keeper. Just before than in the fifth minute, skipper Meddie Kagere had come close with a shot from the right that whistled narrowly wide.

On the half hour mark, the Rwandese could have doubled the lead but Kevin Muhire’s curling effort from inside the box came cracking under the post.

With the result, Rwanda remain third in Group D with two points from back to back draws while Benin picked their first point after losing their first two games.

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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

Nigeria’s AFCON 2025 fixtures almost in same pattern with World Cup qualifiers

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Confederation of African Football (CAF)  has now released the full fixtures of the qualifying series for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations.

The fixtures for the Nigerian team is almost in the same pattern with that of the 2026 World Cup qualification which has seen the Super Eagles wobbling.

Like that of the World Cup, the Super Eagles will begin their quest for qualifcation for AFCON with a home game in Uyo as they will host Benin Republic.

As it was in the World Cup, they will then head to Rwanda. Last November, their second match was played in Rwanda which hosted Zimbabwe home match. This time the Super Eagles will be facing Rwanda, the same team they will meet when the World Cup qualification series resume in March next year.

On Match Day 3, the Super Eagles will host Libya and will have the reverse fixture immediately after that of Match Day 3.

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Later they travel to Benin for Match Day 5 before hosting Rwanda on the last match day.

The Fixtures

  • September 2 – Nigeria vs Benin Republic; Libya vs Rwanda
  • September 6 – Rwanda vs Nigeria; Benin Republic vs Libya
  • October 11 – Nigeria vs Libya; Benin Republic vs Rwanda
  • October 16 – Libya vs Nigeria; Rwanda vs Benin Republic
  • November 11 – Benin Republic vs Nigeria; Rwanda vs Libya
  • November 15 – Nigeria vs Rwanda; Libya vs Benin Republic

The top two teams qualify for AFCON 2025

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AFCON

Rohr roars warning to Benin; Nigeria, Rwanda will not be easy

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

Former Nigeria manager, Gernot Rohr now handling Benin Republic has warned The Cheetahs of Benin not to expect an easy match when the team meet Rwanda and Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this month.

 Last month, he led his team to defeat both Rwanda and Nigeria in World Cup qualifying duels in Abidjan, where Benin Republic are compelled to play their home matches following inadequate facilities at home.

 Benin’s 1-0 defeat of Rwanda was Rohr’s first victory with the team. Days later, he followed up with a 2-1 defeat of Nigeria, the first Benin Republic victory in over 65 years.

 Those wins have put Benin in the frame of possible qualification for the World Cup. They are now to meet Nigeria and Rwanda again in World Cup qualifiers.

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 It won’t be easy, remarked Rohr.  Hear the Franco-German as he spoke in French but translated into English for the Sports Village Square: “From September we will play against Nigeria before facing Libya and Rwanda.  

“These are three difficult opponents.  We had already played Rwanda and Nigeria but be careful, it’s not because we won Rwanda and Nigeria that it will be easy matches.

“ We know that it is possible to achieve good performances again.  We know that Nigeria with its great players will want to take revenge against us.

“ I think it will probably be an interesting match in Uyo before continuing against Libya.  I suppose in Abidjan because in September the Mathieu Kerekou friendship stadium  will not be ready.  

“Everything will be decided in three months in September, October and November.  It’s a difficult group but it’s playable.  

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“You have to finish in the top two.  We had a team that is becoming solid, where the players are like brothers, accomplices.  I hope we will recover the players who were absent.  We are confident.”

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AFCON

Coaches react after intriguing Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers Draw

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The journey towards qualification to the  Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2025 shifted a gear higher on Thursday, after CAF officially conducted the draw of the qualifiers in Johannesburg South Africa.

A total of 48 nations will vie for the 24 places that will contests the 35th edition of Africa’s most prestigious competition.

This is what some of the coaches has to say in reaction to the draw outcomes.

Emerse Fae, Cote d’Ivoire coach

“I am satisfied because we are going to play against Zambia, a team that we know very well. In our last qualifying campaign, we lost against them. We know what mistakes to avoid.

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“I am also satisfied because I did not want to have countries geographically far from Cote d’Ivoire which will lessen the travel load. That said, in Africa, there are no longer small teams. All the teams will want to challenge us because we are the reigning champions”

Leslie Notši

“The draw is very interesting because when you have the host in your group, it means they qualify automatically for the tournament, and you have to double your efforts to secure the remaining qualification spot which will be contested by the three other teams in the group.

“We will work very hard to see to it that we are competitive side and try as much as we can to get maximum points in matches against countries that are with us in our group. It will be very important to do well in our home games and I know all eyes will be on “Morocco as the hosts and a powerhouse in our group. We will draw inspiration from recent games where we played the likes of Nigeria as well as Cote d’voire and were able to frustrate them”

Amir Abdou, Mauritania Coach

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“Quite a complicated draw. Egypt will be the big contender for qualification. They have a good track record that speaks volumes.

“Seven times African champions – that’s no small thing. We also have Cape Verde who eliminated us during the last AFCON.

“This team is made up of many quality players. We have Botswana, they are having a good qualifying campaign for the World Cup. We have a pretty strong group. It’s up to us to believe in ourselves. We will do everything we can to achieve our fourth participation in the AFCON”.

Kévin Nicaise, Chad coach

 “We are already having the reigning African champions facing the last qualified team in the FIFA rankings. These will definitely be very difficult matches played at high intensity. We will fight to defend our nation’s pride. The group remains relatively open, and we will approach these qualifications with humility and ambition”.

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 Badou Zaki, Niger coach

“We have every chance of qualifying. For me, Ghana is a football country with a team that is blessed with great professionals. But this is not the team of 5 or 6 years ago. Even at home, they can lose.

“Angola had a good showing at the last AFCON with their beautiful, modern and fast football. It’s a team that shook up the big teams in Cote d’Ivoire.

“I know Sudan very well. They are first in their World Cup qualifying group. They are going to be dangerous, but we know our strengths and we know we can go far”

-CAF

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