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Eagles’ pending hurdles

 From the draw, forty-four (44) teams will take part in the qualifying series. The teams will be battling for the 14 spots for the final…

 From the draw, forty-four (44) teams will take part in the qualifying series. The teams will be battling for the 14 spots for the final tournament.

 The teams were drawn into eleven groups of four teams each and will play each other on a round-robin basis. The winners of each group will qualify for the finals as well as the three best second placed teams.

 Equatorial Guinea and Gabon qualify automatically as co-hosts.

Reacting to yesterday’s draw, former Nigerian international, Garba Lawal said on paper, the Eagles are home and dry in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon come 2012 but talking about performance on the field of play, it will be too quick to hand over the group to Eagles.

He explained that there are no more minnows in African football so the Super Eagles will need to take all the countries seriously, if they are to qualify for the Nations Cup.

Lawal observed that anytime they are pitched against the Super Eagles, even African countries which are viewed as weak in football usually triple their efforts in a bid to show that they can hold their own against one of the best on the continent.

“Off the pitch, Super Eagles have qualified for the next Nations Cup but if we are to take into consideration performance on the field of play, we cannot just say the team is there already. The players will have to prove that they are better than their opponents.

The groups are as shown below:

Group One: Cape Verde Islands, Liberia, Mali, Zimbabwe

Group Two: Ethiopia, Guinea, Madagascar, Nigeria

Group Three: Comoros Islands, Libya, Mozambique, Zambia

Group Four: Algeria, Central African Republic, Morocco, Tanzania

Group Five: Cameroon, DR Congo, Mauritius, Senegal

Group Six: Burkina Faso, Gambia, Mauritania, Namibia

Group Seven: Egypt, Niger, Sierra Leone, South Africa

Group Eight: Benin, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Rwanda

Group Nine: Congo, Ghana, Sudan, Swaziland.

Group 10: Angola, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Uganda

Group 11: Chad, Malawi, Tunisia, Botswana

The 11 group winners qualify for the 2012 finals, to be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon who qualify automatically, along with three best second placed finishers.

The qualifying campaign starts in September.

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