After missing two editions back-to-back, Nigeria’s Super Eagles appear to have received easy pairing in the draw for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations which took place last night. Cameroon is the host country of the next edition after the 2017 in Gabon starting this weekend.
Gernot Rohr’s men were drawn in Group E along with South Africa, Libya and Seychelles.
In 2015 Eagles similarly had same soft pairing with South Africa and Congo DR but ended up missing the cut as Bafana Bafana snatched the ticket from Nigeria with a nail-biting 2-2 draw in Uyo. Congo finished as group runners up.
It is the first time that both Libya and Seychelles will be in the same group with Nigeria in an AFCON qualifier.
While reacting to the draw yesterday, Director of Communication at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ademola Olajire, told THISDAY last night that the draw was not as simple as it appears.
“It is going to be tough going by what is currently happening in African football. We all know South Africa and what they are capable of doing. Seychelles may appear minnow but they can be as difficult as the South Africans. The Libyans too are no push over that is if you recall that they played in the finals of the 1982 edition against Ghana’s Black Stars,” observed the NFF spokesman.
Olajire however insisted that the federation was not going to leave anything to chances. “We are going to take one game at a time. With six matches to play, it is clear to all that any slip can be very costly,” he noted.
Also in the draw, Tunisia and Egypt were placed with Niger Republic and Swaziland in Group J; defending AFCON champions Cote d’Ivoire are in Group H with Guinea, Central Africa Republic and Rwanda; Ghana will slug it out in Group F with Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Kenya, while Group D has Algeria, Togo, Benin Republic and Gambia.
The winners of each group will join the hosts Cameroon in the final tournament as well as the best three runners-up in all 12 Groups.
The qualifiers will kick off with the preliminary round which will be on 20-28 March 2017.
Match-day 1 of the group stage qualifiers will commence on 5-13 June 2017.
Sao Tome and Principe/Madagascar