20th May, 2013
Nigeria’s Super Eagles will host the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire between 6 and 7 July in the first of a two-leg qualifying fixture for next year’s African Nations Championship, the Confederation of African Football, CAF, has decided.
In a letter to the Nigeria Football Federation, CAF also stated that the return leg, billed for the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, will come up between 27 and 28 July.
The first leg of this qualifying fixture was earlier billed for between 21 and 23 June with the return leg in Abidjan to take place between 6 and 7 July. However, Nigeria’s triumph at the
Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa earlier this year made the Super Eagles eligible for the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, which will be played between 15 – 30 June.
Nigeria have never played in the African Nations Championship finals, which is the continental tournament for players based on the African continent.
The first edition was staged by Cote d’Ivoire in 2009 with Democratic Republic of Congo emerging champions, while Tunisia were triumphant at the second edition held in Sudan in 2011.
The bi-ennial competition had to give way this year after CAF moved the Africa Cup of Nations from even to odd years. The third edition will now take place in South Africa early next year.
The tourney will be the biggest in the competition’s history, with 16 teams to take part for the first time, double the number that took part in the first two championships.