Nigeria’s Super Eagles will host the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire between 6th and 7th July in the first of a two-leg qualifying fixture for next year’s African Nations Championship, the Confederation of African Football has decided.
The first leg of this qualifying fixture was earlier billed for between 21st and 23rd June with the return leg in Abidjan to take lace between 6th and 7th July. However, Nigeria’s triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa earlier this year made the Super Eagles eligible for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, which will be on between 15th – 30th June.
Nigeria has never played in the African Nations Championship, which is the continental tournament for players based on the African continent. The first edition was staged by Cote d’Ivoire in 2009 with Democratic Republic of Congo emerging champions, while Tunisia was triumphant at the second edition staged by Sudan in 2011.
The biennial competition had to give way this year after CAF moved the Africa Cup of Nations from even to odd years. The third edition will now take place in South Africa early next year.
Next year’s showpiece will be the biggest in the competition’s history, with 16 teams to take part for the first time, double the number that took part in the first two championships.