Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have given Imama Amapakabo the nod to continue in charge of the home-based Eagles, and the former youth international goalkeeper will now lead the squad out for this weekend’s first leg of their Championship of African Nations (CHAN) 2020 qualifier away to Togo.
In contrast with wide spread speculation last week, Amapakabo has been directed to continue in charge of the home-based Eagles, despite the return from one-year suspension by the team’s substantive coach, Salisu Yusuf, who is still awaiting a final verdict of his future from the NFF’s executive committee and will not be saddled with the task of taking on Togo in Lome.
Instead of Yusuf making an immediate return, as had earlier been touted, Amapakabo will lead the Eagles’ B-squad to Lome on Friday for the first leg of their CHAN 2020 qualifying fixture with The Sparrow Hawks on Sunday.
Amapakabo has also been directed to use the game as part of his preparations of the under-23 national team, Olympic Eagles for the third African U23 Cup of Nations, which will hold in Egypt from 8th to 22nd November, which will also serve as qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and for which he handled the squad to defeat Libya and Sudan in qualifying series.
Consequently, the NFF has decided that the Olympic Eagles, without foreign-based players but with a number of talents from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), will prosecute the CHAN qualifying fixtures against Togo, after which they will also compete in the second WAFU Cup of Nations, holding in Thies, Senegal as from the 28th of September.
Federation Togolese de Football (FTF) has scheduled Sunday’s encounter for Stade de Kegue in the country’s capital city, starting from 4pm, while Confederation of African Football has selected officials from Benin Republic to handle the match, with Adissa Abdou Raphiou Ligali as referee.
His compatriots Eric Ayimavo Ayamr Ulrich, Kodjori Sylvain Ogoudedji and Seraphin Sourou Adounsi Sourou will be assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively, while Frederick Eric Crentsil from Ghana will be the match commissioner.
Nigeria will aim to win this year’s sixth edition of the competition strictly for home-based players from across the continent, as Cameroon play host in June 2020, after the home-based Eagles runners-up of the past contest in Morocco early last year, having picked bronze in South Africa 2014.