The Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna will host the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between the Super Eagles and the Pharaohs of Egypt, scheduled for Wednesday, March 23, 2016, the NFF announced yesterday.
Officials have also confirmed that work will be undertaken on the pitch of the stadium, as well as a couple of other areas that need to be improved before the clash with the seven –time Africa Cup of Nations winners. The match comes up in exactly 40 weeks.
Nigeria and Egypt share top spot on the Group G table, with the Pharaohs ahead on one goal advantage, following their 3-0 whiplash of Tanzania’s Taifa Stars in Cairo, in penultimate weekend’s opening matches. A day before, the Super Eagles had beaten Chad 2-0 also in Kaduna.
The Eagles’ next match in the series is away to Tanzania in the first week of September, before the double-dose-on-the-trot with the Pharaohs, who have missed all three past Africa Cup of Nations finals, including the 2013 finals that Nigeria won in South Africa.
NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, explained on Wednesday that the Federation will henceforth decide international match venues well in advance in order to afford host cities enough time to work on the facilities to be used for such matches.
In line with the new policy, the NFF has also announced that the first leg of the 2016 Olympics qualifying match between the Super Falcons and the Senior Women National Team of Equatorial Guinea coming up on Saturday, July 18 will be played in Port Harcourt.
Following the withdrawal of Mali in the second round, the Falcons now have two rounds of qualifying fixtures to prosecute before qualification for the Women’s Football Tournament of next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Nigerian girls have played at three previous Olympics – 2000, 2004 and 2008.
Also, the African U-23 Championship final round, first leg match between the Nigeria U-23 team and the Congo U-23 side will be played in Port Harcourt, a day after the Falcons/Equatorial Guinea clash.
The winner of the fixture qualifies for the African U-23 Championship coming up in Senegal in December, where the best three of the eight participating teams will be eligible to represent Africa at the Men’s Football Tournament of next year’s Olympics. The fourth –placed team in Senegal will play-off against a team from Asia.