2023 AFCON: Eagles to face battle-tested S’Leone again

For the second straight Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON qualifying tournament, the Super Eagles have yet been drawn against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone for a place in next year’s final tournament in Cote d’Ivoire.

In the draw conducted in Johannesburg by Confederation of African Football (CAF) Director of Competitions, Nigeria’s Samson Adamu and assisted by African football legendary duo of South African Lucas Radebe and Ivorian Salomon Kalou, the Super Eagles were pitched against the Leone Stars with whom they contested for slots in the same qualifying Group L for the 2021 AFCON .

In the qualifiers for the last AFCON held in Cameroon, the Leone Stars recorded of the most dramatic results of the series when they cancelled a four-goal lead by the Super Eagles in Benin City and also drew goalless in the reverse fixture in Freetown .

Nigeria eventually pick the group’s first spot with an impressive 14 points and were joined by Sierra Leone who edged Republic of Benin with better goal difference after both countries finished on seven points.

Meanwhile, the Super Eagles have also drawn a familiar-foe in Guinea Bissau whom they trashed 2-0 at the Roumdé Adjia Stadium in Garoua last January in their final preliminary group match at the 2021 AFCON after they had disposed Egypt (1-0) and Sudan(3-1).

Upstarts, Sao Tome & Principe or Mauritus are the other team in the Group A section where the Super Eagles are already tipped as favourites.

“Nigeria should progress naturally because they always qualify for the AFCON,” noted Radebe, the former Leeds skipper who incidentally led Bafana Bafana to win the AFCON in 1996 on home soil.

The top two teams across the 12 qualifying sections will advance to the 24-team AFCON.


GROUP A: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome e Principe or Mauritius

GROUP B: Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Togo, Eswatini

GROUP C: Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, Burundi

GROUP D: Egypt, Guinea, Malawi, Ethiopia

GROUP E: Ghana, Madagascar, Angola, Central African Republic

GROUP F: Algeria, Uganda, Niger, Tanzania

GROUP G: Mali, Congo Brazzaville, Gambia, South Sudan

GROUP H: Cote d’Ivoire (hosts), Zambia, Comoros, Lesotho

GROUP I: Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Sudan

GROUP J: Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Botswana

GROUP K: Morocco, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Liberia

GROUP L: Senegal (holders), Benin, Mozambique, Rwanda

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