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Super Eagles await top and familiar top opponents at AFCON Draw




As the clock counts down to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations draw ceremony in Abidjan on Thursday, Nigeria’s Super Eagles are destined to face either the host country, Cote d’Ivoire  or any of the top four African countries.

The probability of drawing a North African team is very high, considering their preponderance in the Pot 1 which harbours the top seeds.

Nigeria will therefore face any of the following – Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. The other options are two West Africans -hosts Cote d’Ivoire or Senegal.

In the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations – 2019 and 2021, the Super Eagles have had confrontations with three of the top four from North Africa – Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia.


It is only Morocco that the Super Eagles have not faced in recent time. Nigeria’s last major confrontation with Morocco at top flight level dates back to 27 January 2004 during the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia. Morocco won the Group D opener by 1-0.

The Team B of both countries however met at the final match of the African Nations Championships (CHAN) in 2018. Morocco won 4-0 at home.

Another North African side in Pot 1, Egypt lost to Nigeria in the opening Group D match last year in Garoua, Cameroon.

But unexpectedly, a highly depleted Tunisian side eliminated Nigeria in the Round of 16, just as Algeria did at the semi-finals of the 2019 edition.

Tunisia have been one of the most familiar North African opponents Nigeria drew at the Africa Cup of Nations in recent time. Since the controversial third place match at Ghana 1978, both teams have met five times.


Egypt is another familiar opponents. They have faced Nigeria nine times in the framework of the Africa Cup of Nations. Nigeria won 1-0, the last time out at last year’s edition in Cameroon.

Before then, Egypt beat Nigeria 3-1 in the opening group game at Angola 2010 and 6-3 in Ghana 1963. Otherwise, three of the  remaining  matches had been in Nigeria’s favour while other three were drawn.

Hosts, Cote d’Ivoire and fellow West Africans provide the possible surprise elements. There have been very few Africa Cup of Nations finals clashes.

Nigeria have met Cote d’Ivoire five times at the finals, winning twice, 2-1 in 2013 and 1-0 in 1990. The Ivoirians also won twice:1-0 in both 2006 and 2008 and drew goalless in Lagos in 1980.

Nigeria met Senegal twice in the Egypt 2006 edition winning both at the group stage and the third-place match. They met on identical date – 7 February in 2000 and 2002. Nigeria won 2-1 in Lagos in 2000 while Senegal won by the same scoreline at Mali 2002.


Three other Nigerian opponents will come from Pots 3 and 4. In Pot 3 are Cape Verde, who keep on improving; 2012 champions Zambia, the 2012 champions;  South Africa, the 1996 champions as well as Guinea, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania.

The Super Eagles have Guinea, Zambia and South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations and had good results. But they had never faced Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea and Mauritania in the competition. Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde were Nigeria’s qualifying opponents in 2010 and 2022 World Cup respectively.

One of those six teams will face Nigeria at the 2023 AFCON.

Pot 4 contains the lowest-ranked teams in the competition. Angola, hosts in 2010, are together with Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Namibia, The Gambia and Tanzania.


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.


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



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.


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




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.


 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.  


“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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Coaches react after intriguing Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers Draw



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.


“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


“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”.


 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”


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