NFF hunts for African opposition ahead 2021 AFCON qualifiers

Rangers of Scotland player Joe Aribo may not have been happy with the outcome of Tuesday’s international friendly against Ukraine but has described his debut as a special day in his life.

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is working hard at sealing a match with an African team for the Super Eagles, after announcing on Monday night that the three-time African champions will play Brazil in a friendly in Singapore on October 13.

Nigeria and Brazil will tango in a much-anticipated encounter at the Singapore National Stadium, Kallang, Singapore October 13, 23 years after Nigeria, on their way to winning Africa’s first Olympic football gold, spanked the Selecao in the semi-finals at the Athens Stadium in the State of Georgia, USA.

Efforts to match the two teams in a friendly game after that spectacular game came to nought for several years, until the organizers of the 8th All-Africa Games that Nigeria hosted in 2003 flew the Brazilians to Abuja in June of that year. Brazil won 3-0.

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There has been no competitive tie between both countries’ senior teams since that memorable Under 23 match in Georgia, and next month’s session will test the character of the former African champions who are somewhat building a new team after a rash of retirements and injuries to key players.

That new breed came close to shocking Ukraine in a friendly match in Dnipro a week ago, before bungling a two-goal lead to end the game in a 2-2 draw.

“We are happy to have sealed this encounter with Brazil, the five-time champions of the world. It is not every day that you get to play Brazil, and I think it is very good for our young team.

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“The NFF must also commend Eurodata Sport, our FIFA-licensed Match Agent, for pulling this off. Having said that, the focus now is on getting an African team for the Super Eagles as a second match for the FIFA window in October, ahead of their 2021 AFCON qualifying matches in November,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said.

The Super Eagles have two 2021 AFCON qualifying dates in November. After hosting the Squirrels of Benin Republic on November 14, they will fly to Maseru for a Day Two encounter with the Crocodiles of Lesotho on November 19.

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