The world football governing body, FIFA, has, through CAF, moved the dates for the first and second legs of the World Cup qualifiers third round playoff fixture between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Black Stars of Ghana.
CAF informed the Nigerian Football Federation on Monday of the new dates which Ademola Olajire, NFF’s Director of Communications, disclosed in a statement.
The matches were initially scheduled for March 24 and March 27 2022, but FIFA has declared new dates for the tie.
Addressing journalists in a press conference to announce the changes on Monday, Olajire said: “The opening leg of the fixture at the Cape Coast Stadium will now take place on March 25, starting from 7:30 p.m Ghana time, which will be 8:30 p.m in Nigeria.
“The return leg match will now hold at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on March 29, starting from 6 p.m Nigeria time.”
The West African powerhouses are set to rekindle their age-long rivalry, with the winners joining four other African nations at the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar later this year.
Ghana will be looking to regain their relevance in African football after a poor run of form spanning the past few years which has seen them perform poorly at the last three African Cup of Nations tournaments and also saw them miss out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Despite only qualifying for the world cup for the first time in 2006, Ghana are the continent’s joint best performers behind Senegal. Nigeria, meanwhile, missed out on the 2006 tournament but have since qualified for the last three World Cups and will be looking to make a fourth successive appearance at the global showpiece.
Super Eagles receive injury boost ahead of Ghana match
Augustine Eguavoen and his coaching staff will be delighted to have Leon Balogun available for selection once more after the defender returned to action with his club, Glasgow Rangers, at the weekend.
The central defender played 45 minutes for the Scottish Premier League defending champions as they hosted Premier League club Brentford in a warm-up game played behind closed doors.
Both teams played out a 2-2 in the game but the big news for Rangers is that their trusted centre-back is back and available for selection as they walk into the crucial part of their season. This is also a boost for Nigeria as the Super Eagles prepare to face Ghana for a spot in the World Cup later this year.
Balogun had been suffering recurring injuries since the latter part of last year, missing the odd match for Rangers and suffering minor relapses from his injury. This means he also was forced to miss the Super Eagles’ Afcon tournament.
Balogun is currently set for a return to the Rangers squad this Thursday as they host German Club Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of their Europa League round of 32 fixture.
Interim coach of the Super Eagles, Eguavoen, will be monitoring the fitness of the defender as he considers the players to invite for the all-important tie against Ghana in March.
This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago