AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Super Eagles drawn in Group A for qualification games

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The Cote d'Ivoire 2023 African Cup of Nations draws have taken place and the Super Eagles of Nigeria have been drawn in Group A.

The draws were held on Tuesday at 6 pm Nigerian Time in the SuperSport Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In attendance were representatives of the Nigerian Football Federation alongside the managers of the member nations of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the draws were concluded within an hour.

Among the draw coordinators were Kanu Nwankwo and Samuel Eto'o, the president of Cameroon's football association FECAFOOT.

Nigeria, ranked third in Africa, was drawn in Group A as the first team from Pot 1 to be selected. Joining them in the group are Sierra Leone and their 2021 AFCON group stage opponents Guinea Bissau.

Sao Tome and Principe will face Mauritius in a pre-qualification tie to determine the fourth team in the group before the qualifiers begin in June.

The full draws are as follows

Group A: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome & Principe/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 Republic, Tanzania
  • Group G: Mali, Congo Brazzaville, Gambia, South Sudan
  • Group H: Cote d’Ivoire (Hosts), Zambia, Comoros Island, Lesotho
  • Group I: DR Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Sudan
  • Group J: Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Botswana
  • Group K: Morocco, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Liberia
  • Group L: Senegal, Benin Republic, Mozambique, Rwanda

Nigeria is currently without a manager but are working hard behind the scenes to appoint one before the qualification games begin in two months.

Coaching has always been seen as a problem by Nigerian media and the fans. But a former Super Eagles player and manager, who is also in the running to become the next manager of the team, has claimed that the problems of Nigerian football are beyond coaching.

Sunday Oliseh, in his column on ‘Life is a Sport', opined that it is erroneous to believe that coaching is the reason for the Super Eagles' struggles in qualifiers and tournaments.

“I am totally amazed at the gigantic erroneous belief by some compatriots, that the disastrous problem of Nigeria in the recent past 6 years is limited to just poor coaching of the super Eagles,” he began.

”True, coaching is an integral crucial part of the crisis, but not totally the sole reason. This error can only be fuelled if you really falsely believe that the National team’s coach is solely responsible for creating talented great Eagles players.

“In fact, the National Coach in France, for clarity reasons on this, is called “le selectioneur” and not “l’entrainer” you got it… Selector and not Coach!”

Oliseh buttressed his claims using two of his former managers in his time as an active Super Eagles player, Clemens Westerhof and Jo Bonfere.

Both managers managed to make Nigeria stand out among the crowd but struggled in other appointments after leaving Nigeria.

Oliseh believes that it was the talent pool they had to select from that made all the difference, making it clear that Nigeria today does not have the talent pool both coaches had in their time.

Oliseh is up against Jose Peseiro, Ernesto Valverde, Phillip Cocu, Laurent Blanc and a few others for the role of the next Super Eagles manager.

If appointed, he will go straight into the task of selecting the best side to work with to restore the belief in the Super Eagles.

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

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