2022 CHAN Qualifiers: NFF Refuses To Learn From History As Black Stars Plot Another Havoc

2022 CHAN Qualifiers: NFF Refuses To Learn From History As Black Stars Plot Another Havoc

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By Amaechi Agbo

On October 19, 2019, Super Eagles home-based players defeated Togo 2-0 in the return leg of the 2020 Africa Nations Championship, CHAN qualifier in Agege Stadium, Lagos but the result amounted to naught after the team lost 4-3 on aggregate following their 4-1 loss in the first leg.

The then Imama Amakpakabor-led Eagles failed to qualify for the continental competition designed for only players who ply their trade in the domestic leagues

However, three years later, the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF appears unrepentant from the ignominy that followed the non-qualification of Nigeria to the tournament they were runner-up in the previous edition.

The Confederation of Africa Football, CAF, organisers of the tournament had announced that the first leg second round qualifying matches will take place from August 26 to 28, with the second leg coming up between September 2 to 4.

After the first round of qualifiers, Ghana secured a date with the Super Eagles. It would be the fourth time both countries are tackling each other since March 29, 2022 when the Black Stars came to Abuja and beat Nigeria for the 2022 FIFA World Cup ticket.

Although the previous two encounters in U-20 and U-17 WAFU Tournaments had gone in favour of Nigeria, there are growing concerns that NFF lackadaisical approach to matches other than the Super Eagles, is worrisome.

Flyings Eagles were called to camp less than three weeks to their WAFU tournament while Golden Eaglets began camping five weeks to their own competition.

With less than three weeks to the qualifiers against Ghana, the CHAN Eagles led by coach Finidi George, NFF is yet to open camp for the team.

This is dissimilar to Ghana’s Black Stars who have been in camp for months and have played the earlier preliminary which puts them in good stead ahead of the potential explosive encounters.

Ghana stopped Super Eagles from qualifying for 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

In the West Zone B, Ghana recorded a 4-0 aggregate win over Benin Republic. The home based Black Stars won 3-0 at home and 1-0 away, to set up a second round clash against Nigeria.

Countries that have scaled the first hurdle including nations that got a bye, are: Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Chad, DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Sudan, will make their entry, after standby in the previous round

The 2023 TotalEnergies African Nations Championship will be hosted by Algeria, who are automatically qualified for the competition.

Morocco and Libya, under the North zone (UNAF), are also qualified for the 2023 event.

The Super Eagles were thrashed 4-0 by host Morocco in the 2018 final and with the failure to qualify for the 2020 edition, one had expected that the Nigeria Football Federation should, as a matter of urgent national importance, have kept these players in camp for months ahead of the qualifiers.

In an event the team fail to pick the ticket, Finidi George and his backroom staff will be at the receiving end but the fact would remain, that Nigeria’s football umpire had failed to learn from history

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