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Our expectations for year 2012 (3)

Last year’s Guinness The Match remains the biggest international friendly for the Super Eagles since Mr. Rotimi Pedro brought the Senior National Team of Brazil…

Last year’s Guinness The Match remains the biggest international friendly for the Super Eagles since Mr. Rotimi Pedro brought the Senior National Team of Brazil to play the Eagles in a match that commemorated the official opening of the National Stadium, Abuja on June 11, 2003.

The Eagles lost that encounter nine years ago 3-0, but rose stoutly to the occasion against the Argentines to run away 4-1 winners on the night. Three months later, in Dhaka (capital of Bangladesh) the two teams met again, with the South Americans winning 3-1.

Top-grade international friendlies help to steer a team away from the lethargy and comfort of playing the smaller nations, which afford only false confidence. Having earned different results against Argentina last year, the Super Eagles are much better schooled in terms of what they need to put together when confronting any of the world’s Top 10 sides.

While it may be difficult to get a friendly into the packed month of June, in which THREE big ones await the Super Eagles, there is a FIFA window on August 15, and another one on November 14.

Sandwiched between these two dates is the period of 7-9 September, when the Super Eagles must host one of the 16 finalist teams at the on-going African Cup of Nations finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, for a place at the 2013 African Cup of Nations finals in South Africa.

Before that clash, the Eagles MUST get the Wasps of Rwanda behind them in the first round of the qualifiers, the first leg of which takes place at the Amahoro Stadium, Kigali at the end of this month.

With top grade friendlies, the Super Eagles will be able to acquit themselves well in the final round of qualifiers for the 2013 African Cup of Nations. The first leg, as mentioned earlier, will take place in Nigeria with the return leg away. It is important that we quickly get Rwanda out of the way in order to focus on the would-be opposition.

We also intend to be able to present solid teams for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup finals (our Falconets are already through to the second round of a three-round race following the withdrawal of Sierra Leone), which will take place in Uzbekistan between 18 August – 8 September. The same objective for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup finals, which is taking place in Azerbaijan between 22 September and 13 October, and for which our Flamingoes have, to all intents and purposes, assured a place in the second and final round of qualifiers in March.

Certainly, the objective for the Super Eagles will be bigger. The Cup holders of the African Women Championship will play against Zimbabwe in May for a place at the 8th African Women Championship which will be hosted by Equatorial Guinea in November.

The African Cup of Nations…

So much thrill and frills from the African Cup of Nations finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Senegal, ranked joint-favourites alongside Cote d’Ivoire at the outset, have fallen aside with a hat-trick of 2-1 losses, to Zambia, Equatorial Guinea and Libya.


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