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Nigeria, Zimbabwe hold talks over potential pre-World Cup friendly


Super Eagles celebrate victory against Argentina. AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV

If negotiations sailed through, Nigeria would meet Zimbabwe in a pre-Russia 2018 World Cup, officials of the Zimbabwean FA have disclosed.Nigeria has lined up some friendly matches to prepare the Super Eagles for the World Cup, while the NFF is still negotiating with some African countries for more of the games before the team flies to Russia.

The Super Eagles will meet Poland in a friendly next month in Europe. Now, Zimbabwe wants the Super Eagles to add it to the itinerary. The Zimbabwean Warriors want to face a tough opposition in their team rebuilding process and they believe Nigeria fits the bill perfectly.

Zimbabwe Football Association President, Mr. Philip Chiyangwa, while discussing the state of the country’s football yesterday said they were looking at making Zimbabwe a football powerhouse in the Southern African region. He said the association’s plans for the long-term future is to feature in the upcoming regional tournament, the 2019 Africa Cup and Nations and the 2022 World Cup.

Mr. Chiyangwa said they will be inviting a technical director for the national team from Europe but did not disclose the name or the country where the technical director will be coming from. In addition to that, he said the country is going to start playing international friendlies with football powerhouses on the continent.

Chiyangwa said the negotiation with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for the match is already at an advanced stage, adding that they are also talking with Cameroun. Zimbabwe, unlike Nigeria has had torrid times on and off the pitch. Off the pitch, the Zimbabwe Football Association is riding in a sea of debt, with estimates claiming the debt may well be over US $5 million. ZIFA’s creditors internationally have made the nation pay by approaching FIFA and having Zimbabwe thrown out of World Cup qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup. Domestically, creditors have approached the Courts in bids to recover their money, factors which have led ZIFA property being attached. Recently, ZIFA had to operate at the house of its President after allegations it had failed to pay rentals at the ZIFA Village to the city council.

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