…as Nigeria confirm opponents today
uper Eagles will know their opponents in Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers as second round draw for African teams takes place today Tuesday 21st at the Nile Ritz-Carlton in Cairo Egypt.
Nigeria is seeded in Pot 1 alongside giants Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt, Tunisia, Mali, Algeria, Mali and DR Congo and one of these teams will be drawn against teams seeded in pot 2.
In Pot 2 are Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Gabon and Guinea as well as former African champions Zambia, Congo, South Africa as well as Cape Verde. Eagles may draw any of these teams.
Among those in the Pot 2 are the trio of Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa – three teams that will definitely not be easy nut to crack, considering rivalries as well as the relative strengths of the teams against Nigeria.
They are teams Nigeria had to struggle with in recent past. Nigeria played 1-1 draw with Burkina Faso at the group stage of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
Both met again in the final match and Nigeria laboured to a 1-0 win. Cote d’Ivoire are easily one of the biggest teams in Africa and Nigeria’s defeat of the Ivorians at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations’ quarterfinal clash was dubbed as the major upset of the tournament.
In recent time, Cote d’Ivoire has become the stumbling block for Nigeria. The Ivorians eliminated both the Super Falcons and the Olympic Eagles from the qualification for the football event of Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
If Nigeria draw Benin Republic in Pot 2, it will mean that both teams are pitched in dual qualification for 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and 2022 FIFA World Cup. It will also be the first time both are drawn into the same World Cup qualification group.
The rivalry of Nigeria and South Africa took a major colouration three years ago when against all odds, Bafana Bafana inflicted a 0-2 defeat to the Super Eagles on home ground in Uyo and earlier upset of 2-2 three years earlier which denied Nigeria’s qualification for 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles got a last minute goal to upstage South Africa at the quarterfinals of the AFCON last year. The growing strength of South African football is further underscored by the fact Bafana Bafana eliminated hosts and Mohamed Salah-fueled Egypt from AFCON on home soil.