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FIFA set to unveil Nigeria’s 2018 World Cup opponents


Super Eagles before the game against Mali in Rouen

Super Eagles before the game against Mali in Rouen

Begins move to fill Africa’s two vacant slots

Nigeria will know its opponents in the group phase of the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers on July 24, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has disclosed.

The Super Eagles failed to qualify for the Gabon 2017 African Nations Cup, prompting the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to embark on measures to ensure the team qualifies for the 2018 World Cup.

Some of the measures include the reconfiguration of the team’s technical crew and organizing friendly matches to ensure that the Eagles are ready when the World Cup qualifiers begin.

CAF said yesterday that the draw for World Cup qualifiers’ group stage will hold on June 24 at its secretariat in Cairo, Egypt.

The group phase of the qualifiers will involve 20 teams, including Algeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Cape Verde, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Congo DR., Zambia, South Africa, Cameroun, Guinea and Tunisia. Others are Uganda, Libya, Gabon, Egypt and Congo.

This stage of the preliminary competition will involve 20 teams drawn into five four-team groups, with sides playing each other home and away on a round-robin basis.

The draws involve pitching teams in groups headed by five seeded sides with the five group winners qualifying for the World Cup.

In a statement yesterday, CAF advised all journalists interested in covering the draws to apply for accreditation from yesterday to June 14.

Meanwhile, FIFA has started the process of electing two African representatives to the world body’s council for the transitional period starting from September 30, 2016 to March 16, 2017.

The polls will be conducted on September 29 during the CAF extraordinary general assembly in Cairo, Egypt, which will also lead to the amendment of the CAF statutes in harmonisation and compliance with the reforms implemented at FIFA.

CAF Secretary General, Hicham El Amrani, yesterday advised interested candidates to submit three months before the polls in accordance with the provisions of article 18.5 of the CAF Statutes.

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