6th September, 2012
Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles have been drawn to play their counterparts from Cote d’Ivoire, the Elephant in the qualifying series of 2014 African Nations Championship, CHAN slated for South Africa.
At the qualifying draw held for the tournament in Cairo by CAF on Thursday, West Africa had two zones and the highlight of Zone ‘B’ pairings is a showdown between arch rivals Nigeria and Ivory Coast.
The Nigerian team, now under the tutelage of Coach Stephen Keshi, will want to atone for their shocking qualifying loss to Niger Republic in the previous championship.
The winners of a preliminary tie between Burkina Faso and Togo stand between 2011 quarter-finalists Niger and a second appearance, while Benin and Ghana square off for another slot.
However, CHAN title holders, Tunisia were paired with Morocco in the qualifying draw, while
Algeria play Libya in the other match-up involving countries in the north of the continent with regional powerhouse Egypt a notable absentee from the zonal draw.
Egypt (6) and Cape Verde Islands (15) are the only teams among the CAF top 20 not to enter a competition that has grown quickly in stature with the number of finalists doubling from eight to 16 for the second edition in Sudan last year.
Tunisia defeated Angola 3-0 in the 2011 final of a championship restricted to footballers playing in their country’s local league, and the Democratic Republic of Congo upset Ghana 2-0 in the first decider two years earlier.
South Africa qualify automatically as hosts and three 2010 World Cup venues – Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Polokwane – will be used plus the GWK rugby union stadium in Northern Cape capital Kimberley.
The Preliminary rounds hold between 30 November – 2 December and 14 – 16 December this year, the first round qualifiers take place between 21-23 June and 5-7 July, 2013 while the second would be played between 26-28 July and 9-11 August of next year.
The Full Draw
North First round: Algeria v Libya, Tunisia (holders) v Morocco- Winners qualify for finals
West A Preliminary round: Liberia v Mauritania, Guinea v Sierra Leone
First round: Senegal v Liberia/Mauritania, Mali v Guinea/S. Leone Winners qualify
West B Preliminary round: Burkina Faso v Togo
First round: Benin v Ghana, Nigeria v Ivory Coast, B-Faso/Togo v Niger Winners qualify
Central Preliminary round: Central Africa Republic v Congo Brazzaville
First round: Cameroon v Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo v C.A.R./Congo
Second round: Losers Cameroon/Gabon v losers DR Congo/C.A.R./Congo
First round and second round winners qualify
Central-East Preliminary round: Burundi v Kenya, Eritrea v Ethiopia
First round: Burundi/Kenya v Sudan, Eritrea/Ethiopia v Rwanda, Tanzania v Uganda Winners qualify
South Preliminary round: Mauritius v Comoros Islands
First round: Mauritius/Comoros v Zimbabwe, Seychelles v Namibia, Swaziland v Angola, Botswana v Zambia
Second round: Mauritius/Comoros/Zimbabwe v Botswana/Zambia, Seychelles/Namibia v Swaziland/Angola Winners qualify.