The Nigeria Football Federation has reiterated that Thursday’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying encounter between the Super Eagles and the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja will be played without fans in the stands.
NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi said in Abuja on Tuesday that the situation is a consequence of the one-match ban placed on the country by world football –governing body, FIFA over the fracas that followed the end of 2022 FIFA World Cup playoff round against the Black Stars of Ghana in March.
“We want to appeal to our very passionate football fans to take heart for this one game. It is only a one-match ban, after which they can again start trooping out to support the Super Eagles. The match against Sierra Leone will be without fans as a consequence of what happened after the match against the Ghanaians.
“Nonetheless, we want to urge all our football fans, and indeed all Nigerians, to support the team whichever way they can and pray for success against the Sierra Leoneans on Thursday.”
The Super Eagles take on the Leone Stars at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja in a Day 1 game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations starting from 5pm on Thursday, 9th June. Four days later, they tackle ‘The Falcons and True Parrots’of São Tomé and Príncipe at the 45,000 –capacity Grand Stade de Agadir in southern Morocco.
While CAF has appointed Ivorian officials to take charge of the encounter in Abuja, Liberian officials led by referee Hassen Corneh will oversee the match in Agadir on Monday.
WAFU B U17 TOURNEY: Golden Eaglets depart for Cape Coast
Five –time world champions Nigeria will set out on course for another title on Wednesday when they depart the country for the Ghanaian city of Cape Coast, where they will participate in the Seven-Nation WAFU B U17 Championship that begins on Saturday.
The two finalists from the tournament in Cape Coast will represent the WAFU B zone at the Africa U17 Cup of Nations billed for Algeria early next year, from where all four semi finalists will qualify for the FIFA U17 World Cup finals in Peru.
Nigeria, with five world titles in the kitty, and three –time world champions and hosts Ghana will set the tournament rolling on Saturday with a potentially –explosive encounter at the Stade Cape Coast starting from 4pm Ghana time (5pm Nigeria time).
Coach Nduka Ugbade, who has kept his eyes on the ball and his hands on the plough for several weeks screening and training the lads at the FIFA Goal Project, Abuja, says his objective is to earn a ticket to the AFCON finals in Algeria.
“I am happy with the squad that we have been able to come up with, and I can say confidently that we are going to Ghana to make the nation proud. Our primary objective is to earn a ticket to the Africa Cup of Nations, and then we go full throttle for the trophy. Nigeria have a pedigree in U17 football and we cannot afford to disappoint.”
Ugbade, who captained the squad that won the first of Nigeria’s five world titles at this level, has picked 20 players for the campaign that will last until 24th June, with five more players on standby.
The Golden Eaglets are in Group A of the competition, with a second match against Togo’s U17 boys on Tuesday next week, also at the Stade Cape Coast.
GOLDEN EAGLETS FOR WAFU B U17 CHAMPIONSHIP IN CAPE COAST
Goalkeepers: Richard Odoh, Hameed Balogun, Pascal Uzoho
Defenders: Jeremiah Olaleke, Emmanuel Michael, Tochukwu Ogboji, Yahaya Lawal, Miracle Ogwor
Midfielders: Basil Mbata, Ebube Okere, Tochukwu Ogbabido, Richard Uche, Ozor Okeke, Raphael Oyebanjo
Forwards: Umar Abubakar, Kevwe Iyede, Light Eke, Abubakar Abdullahi, Jubril Azeez, Precious Williams
Standby: Utibe Silas, Abdullahi Buhari, Abubakar Shaibu, Tijjani Mohammed, Stephen Emmanuel