By Yemi Babalola Lagos, Nigeria.
Following the non-qualification of the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations 2017, which was hosted by Gabon and won by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Nigerians football fans are eager to see their number one footballing team make it to every vital stages in the upcoming competitions. The major tournaments for 2017 like AFCON and Confederations Cup would not have the Super Eagles gracing them, but the qualifiers of the Russia 2018 world cup has commenced since 2016 and would continue in 2017, as African countries would try to eliminate each other to book a ticket at the next World Cup.
The Super Eagles started on a right foot by winning the maximum six points from their first two matches in 2016. Going into 2017, the Eagles would continue the World Cup qualifiers with double header against Cameroon billed for August 28 in Uyo and September 2 in Limbe.
It must be noted that this time around the football administrators of Nigeria have not let the upcoming fixtures to chance and have gone on to secure friendlies for the nation. Nigeria have already agreed a friendly against Senegal on March 23 in London, while the country are discussing with DR Congo, Ghana and Morocco for another test game during this window. Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has said he hopes to use next month’s friendlies to test some new players as Nigeria begin preparations for an AFCON 2019 qualifier at home against South Africa as well as World Cup qualifiers against Cameroon from August.
The draws for the 2019 AFCON which would be held in Cameroon has also been revealed and it is no longer news that Nigeria would be slugging it out with South Africa, Seychelles and Libya. The journey would begin with Nigeria welcoming Bafana Bafana in June to get the AFCON qualifiers going.
Hopefully, the Nigeria football federation should also look into making sure that proper welfare arrangement in cash and kind are made available before these games proceed, to ensure that this would not be a cause of worry to the players and encourage them to continue their optimal performance.
Knowing also that the FIFA rankings have been fair to the team in the last two months and the upward movement of the Super Eagles on the FIFA log cannot be overlooked. Coach Gernot Rohr and the Super Eagles are expected to above all secure the World Cup ticket for the national team. As well, if his contract is been extended secure the AFCON 2019 tickets and that should be the focus of the team for now.
All eyes on Russia 2018 world cup ticket and also the ticket to Cameroon 2019 AFCON competition. Having not qualified for the previous two editions of the AFCON, they hopefully look forward to breaking the jinx and making it to the next edition in Cameroon. Likewise, the NFF would ensure the notable failure of their administration in 2016 would not continue in 2017.