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Eagles may prepare for 2019 African Nations Cup in Morocco


[FILE]Nigeria’s players attend a training session at Essentuki Arena in southern Russia on June 20, 2018 during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament./ AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

If everything works according to plans, the Super Eagles will camp in Morocco to prepare for the African Nations Cup, which CAF yesterday confirmed would hold in Egypt this year.

According top reports that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has set plans to secure a good camp for the national team ahead of the competition, which will hold from June 15 to July 13.Egypt, who are the most successful team in this championship having won it a record seven times, beat South Africa to stage the expanded tournament of 24 teams.

Egypt have hosted the biennial tournament four times, with the last being in 2006, when The Pharaohs beat the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in the final, while Nigeria won bronze.Though the nod for Egypt is coming barely five months to kick-off, CAF noted that the country has the facilities and local interest to host the rest of Africa at short notice.

Consequently, the Eagles may head back to neighbouring Morocco, where they also camped in November 2017 before their final match of the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Algeria.

Although that match was a dead-rubber fixture, with the Eagles having already qualified for the Mundial with a match to spare, the NFF used the opportunity of a pact with the Moroccan FA to get the team enjoy some variation of sight, environment and weather.Morocco, who lost their bid to host the 2026 World Cup, did not bid to host the continental showpiece after they were previously tipped for it.

Before yesterday’s abrupt announcement by CAF, many Nigerians were sentimentally attached to South Africa getting the nod, because the Super Eagles won their third title there in 2018.The South Africans have hosted the competition twice, in 1996, which they won when Nigeria refused to turn up as defending champions, then in 2013, when they were a late replacement for war-ravaged Libya.

The home-based Eagles also camped in Rabat ahead of the fifth CHAN, while Nigeria’s under-15 team and Morocco’s side played two friendly matches at the same city in August.

All this came after the NFF and Morocco Football Federation signed a multi-strategic agreement in soccer relations between both countries.The three-time African champions are now likely to again use the Moroccan facilities to prepare for AFCON 2019, as they did for the Algeria tie and international friendly against Argentina in Russia.

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