What appears to be a contradiction in date has apparently emerged for the Olympic Eagles’ Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifier against Sudan, as a press statement by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) indicates that the game will hold on Thursday, not Friday.
Although Friday had been bandied round in media circles all along for the first leg between Nigeria and Sudan in the North African country, the NFF’s communications department stated in its preview to the much-awaited match that the first leg is billed for Thursday, 5th September at Al Merriekh Stadium in Omdurman.
Though the team were still in Abuja up till Monday night, the NFF’s statement added that Coach Imama Amapakabo will lead his squad out of Nigeria’s shores early in the week, with the return leg scheduled to hold in Asaba, Delta State on Tuesday, 10th September.
It added that the winners over two legs between Nigeria and Sudan will qualify for the third edition of the U-23 AFCON, which is scheduled to take place in Egypt from the 8th to 22nd of November, from where Africa’s representatives for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men’s soccer event will emerge.
The Nigerian delegation of 18 players and 12 officials departed the country on Tuesday from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja aboard an Ethiopian Airline flight, as they get back into the quest of reenacting the memory of how the pioneer under-23 squad, Dream Team, became Africa’s first ever winners of the Olympic men’s football gold at Atlanta ’96.
Amapakabo and his crew members have been taking home-based players in the team through training sessions and general build-up programme for several weeks at their camp base in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, before which a large array of lads from overseas arrived for the game on Monday, and are billed to also star in the reverse fixture at Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State next week Tuesday.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) have picked officials from Djibouti to take charge of proceedings on Thursday, with Souleiman Ahmad Djama as the referee, while his compatriots, Farhan Bogoreh Salime, Rachid Waiss Bouraleh and Saddam Houssein Mansour will serve as assistant referee one, assistant referee two and fourth official respectively, with Herbert George Mwachiro from Kenya as match commissioner.