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AFCON

Afcon 2023 teams set up seven pre-tournament camps in the Middle East and Africa

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Super Eagles of Nigeria along with Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Cape Verde Angola and Guinea set up camp in the United Arab Emirates

With the clock ticking down to the 13 January kick-off date for the 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, the 24 teams have set up seven camps in the Middle East, North Africa, South Africa and West Africa as well as some remaining at home.

The camps are in Saudi Arabia, UAE, West Africa, South Africa, Tunisia, Algeria as well as some remaining in their home countries.

In the United Arab Emirates are six teams from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Cape Verde Angola and Guinea.

Fourth in the last edition, Burkina Faso chose to set up camp in Dubai on December 28, where the Stallions will play a mini-tournament with Nigeria and the DR Congo.

The Congolese and Burkinabes will face off on January 10.

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It’s worth noting that Sébastien Desabre’s men are expected in Abu Dhabi at the end of December.

These two teams will be joined by Cape Verde, fine-tunning its preparation in Abu Dhabi before flying to Rades in Tunisia where they will face the Carthage Eagles on January 10.

Abu Dhabi is a carefully considered choice for Kaba Diawara: “Initially, we will meet in Conakry on December 28 and do everything related to flag presentation, celebration, receiving the head of state, and saying goodbye to families on our soil.

“We will be in Abu Dhabi on the 31st to start training. We will leave there for Cote d’Ivoire on January 11 or 12, 2024,” explained the Guinean coach.

Nigeria chose to set up in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates during their preparation. The Super Eagles will face the DR Congo and Burkina Faso during this period.

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Nigerians will likely encounter Angola, who also chose Dubai for their training camp.

At the Saudi Arabia training camp are the quartet of Cameroon, Gambia, Zambia, and Cape Verde which also will partly be in UAE and later Tunisia.

Cameroon and Gambia, the two teams set to face each other on January 23 in Group B of the CAF  Africa Cup of Nations, will prepare in the same country of Saudi Arabia.

According to the Cameroonian press, a contingent of 23 Indomitable Lions will travel to Jeddah on December 27.

Gambia will stay in Saudi Arabia from December 27 to January 5 before heading to Morocco, where a match against the Atlas Lions is planned on January 7.

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After a brief gathering with local players, Zambia will fly to Riyadh, with a friendly match scheduled around January 7.

South Africa is another training centre where Ghana and Mozambique will be. Ghanaians will spend New Year’s Eve together in South Africa. The Black Stars will undergo a 10-day training camp where the press and the public will not be able to attend their sessions.

A test match against Botswana is scheduled for Chris Hughton’s men on January 8 before flying to Abidjan.

Mozambicans will also travel to South Africa before the  Africa Cup of Nations.

The trio of Algeria, Guinea Bossau and Namibia opted to set up camp in West Africa

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Algeria heads to Togo. From January 1 to 10, the Fennecs will conduct their preparation stage in Lomé. The 2021 African champions will play against Togo on January 5 and Burundi on January 9.

Guinea Bissau will go to Mali. The Djurtus will face the Eagles on January 3 before heading to Ivory Coast on January 7. Namibia will be in Ghana.

Both Mauritania and Zambia opted to set up training camp in Tunisia.  After Abu Dhabi, Cape Verde will go to Tunisia, where a match against the Carthage Eagles is scheduled.

Mauritania will start its preparation in Tabarka, a coastal city in northwest Tunisia. Amir Abdou and his team will be there until January 11 and will face Tunisia on January 6.

Tanzania will prepare on the side of Annaba in Algeria. Two friendly matches against nations participating in the AFCON are under discussion.

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Eight nations have decided to carry out their preparation at home, including Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Tunisia, Mali, Senegal, and Ivory Coast, the host country of the competition.

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.

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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