‘Lesotho, Zimbabwe games to prepare Eagles for AFCON 2024’
Crocodiles expected in Abuja today
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said that it would use the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against the Crocodiles of Lesotho and Zimbabwe’s national team to prepare the Super Eagles for the 2024 African Cup of Nations billed to hold next year in Cote d’Ivoire.
The Super Eagles’ camp for the World Cup qualifiers opened yesterday in Uyo, with majority of the players expected to arrive in the city today ahead of the first game in the series against Crocodiles of Lesotho on Thursday.
According to a programme released by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Super Eagles’ full training will begin this evening at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, which will also host the match.
The NFF said in a release made available to The Guardian yesterday that the Lesotho delegation to the game would arrive in Nigeria today aboard a Kenyan Airways flight.
It said: “The delegation will sleep over in Lagos, and then fly into Uyo on Tuesday morning where players and officials will be accommodated at the Ibom Hotel and Resorts.
“The match officials, including the contingent of Tunisian referees, are also expected to arrive in Uyo on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s battle.”
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, NFF Secretary General, Mohammed Sanusi, assured Nigerians that the federation has provided everything the Super Eagles need to pick the World Cup ticket and also excel at the 2024 African Cup of Nations.
He said: “We are working round the clock to see that the Eagles do not fail to pick the World Cup ticket. The NFF has supported the players and coaches in every capacity to start on a positive note by winning the first World Cup qualifier against Lesotho and as well proceed to Kigali, Rwanda, to defeat Zimbabwe to maintain a comfortable lead on the group’s log.”
The 20,000-capacity Huye Stadium, located in the city of Butare, which is 135 kilometres south of the Rwandan capital, Kigali, has an artificial turf.
Zimbabwe has adopted Rwanda as home for the qualifiers as no stadium in the southern African nation has been deemed fit to host the FIFA World Cup qualifying games.
Other teams in Nigeria’s group in the World Cup qualifying race are South Africa and Benin Republic.
On preparations for Cote d’Ivoire 2024, Sanusi said, “the Federation is also working out programmes for the Eagles to have quality preparation ahead of the 2024 AFCON, which will kick off early next year. The two games against Lesotho and Zimbabwe are games that would also help put the Eagles in the right spirit ahead of the AFCON.”
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