20 February 2013

Nigeria: NFF Plans Big for Africa Nations Championship

THE Nigeria Football Federation is determined to see the Super Eagles qualify for next year's African Nations Championship, according to the General Secretary, Barrister Musa Amadu.

Amadu said on Tuesday that the NFF would be enamoured to see Nigeria emerge champions of the continental tournament reserved for players based in their countries' domestic Leagues in Africa, to add to the all-comers Africa Cup of Nations title won in South Africa penultimate weekend.

"The NFF is leaving no stone unturned to see that the Super Eagles qualify for the 3rd African Nations Championship, which incidentally, will hold in South Africa early next year. We want to add that trophy to the Africa Cup of Nations that is presently in our possession."

"It is not a true reflection of the strength of our domestic football that we have never qualified for the African Nations Championship. We must make amends by not only qualifying for the next finals, but winning it as well."

Nigeria lost out to Ghana in the race to the inaugural African Nations Championship in Cote d'Ivoire in 2009 and then faltered against Niger Republic in the qualifying series for the second edition in Sudan in 2011. Tunisia is the defending champion of the competition.

For the 3rd edition which finals come up in South Africa early next year, Nigeria has been drawn against Cote d'Ivoire, with the first leg to be played in Nigeria in the third week of June and the return leg in Abidjan in the first week of July.

"Coach Stephen Keshi will coach the team. He has been doing a lot of work with the home boys and even took six of them to the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. Our home boys have given good account of themselves at several friendly matches against Angola, Liberia, Egypt, Peru and Niger Republic over the past year.

"They should have no problem qualifying for the finals, moreso with the kind of support and preparation they will get from the NFF," Amadu added.

The home boys have been given equal opportunities alongside the overseas-based professionals in the past 15 months and will next week resume camping for next month's 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Kenya, before the arrival of the foreign-based pros.

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