Egypt's Mohammed Abu Trika (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during a recent match played in Dubai, in April
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Officials of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are secretly praying for Egypt to be eliminated by Central African Republic from the Africa Cup of Nations when both sides meet in Bangui tomorrow in the reverse fixture of the second round of South Africa 2013 qualifying.
Egypt was surprisingly put on the mesh when they lost 3-2 at home to the less fancied Central African Republic two weeks ago.
The Pharaohs’ task will be tough in Bangui as they will need to score at least two unreplied goals to avoid missing out from two consecutive Nations Cup editions.
Though Nigeria and Egypt will not confront in the final stage of qualifying in September and October as both of them are seeded in Pot 1 for the draw which holds in Johannesburg next Thursday, Nigeria hopes to benefit from any set back that ultimately befalls the Egyptians.
In the event of that, the calculation is that Morocco will move into the same Pot 1 with Nigeria, thus reducing the possibility of the Eagles drawing the North Africans in the knock out third round matches.
Nigerian officials are praying hard for the Eagles, who surprisingly failed to berth at the last Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, to draw a ‘soft pick’ from Pot 2.
A CAR upset over Egypt will toss the little African side in Pot 2 along Senegal, Libya, Niger, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Togo, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Congo DR, Ethiopia and Liberia.
The teams in Pot 1 will be drawn with those in Pot 2, with the winners of the respective knock out matches advancing to the finals in South Africa.
Nigeria, predictably, snuffed the day lights out of Rwanda in the last round to put them on the verge of a place to South Africa 2013.
By Nigerian federation officials’ calculation, aside from Senegal and Congo DR, none of the teams in Pot 2 should pose a threat to Nigeria.
By coincidence, former Chairman of the Nigerian federation, Dominic Oneya has been appointed by CAF as the match commissioner of the match in Bangui.