CAF’s release of the list of referees for the 2023 Africa Nations Cup in Ivory Coast has raised concerns as there are no Nigerian officials listed in any category.
Despite Nigeria’s qualification for the tournament, there is a notable absence of Nigerian referees on the AFCON shortlist.
This issue highlights the need for Nigeria to develop and produce more qualified referees to participate in prestigious continental tournaments like the Africa Nations Cup.
The last Nigerian referee to officiate at the AFCON was Emmanuel Imiere back in 2006.
With the tournament set to begin in January 2024, this absence underscores the urgency for Nigeria to address its refereeing development programs and produce more qualified officials.
Ahmed Musa out as Super Eagles head coach Peseiro names 23-man squad for Sao Tome clash
Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro has made some notable omissions, including Ahmed Musa, Zaidu Sanusi, and Alex Iwobi (due to injury), from the final squad for Nigeria’s upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualification match against Sao Tome and Principe.
The squad, consisting of 23 players, includes key figures like on-field captain William Ekong, Tyronne Ebuehi, Semi Ajayi, Wilfred Ndidi, Frank Onyeka, Moses Simon, Victor Osimhen, and Taiwo Awoniyi.
The team comprises three goalkeepers, eight defenders, four midfielders, and eight forwards. This match is crucial for Nigeria, as they need to secure at least one point to secure the top spot in their group, having already qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Peseiro has also included some new faces in the squad, such as Belgium-based center-back Jordan Torunarigha, forwards Victor Boniface and Gift Orban, and recalls for Portugal-based left-back Bruno Onyemaechi and defensive midfielder Raphael Onyedika.
All Called-up Players:
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Omonia FC, Cyprus); Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba FC); Adebayo Adeleye (Hapoel Jerusalem, Israel)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Nottingham Forest, England); Tyronne Ebuehi (Empoli FC, Italy); Jordan Torunarigha (KAA Gent, Belgium); William Ekong (PAOK FC, Greece); Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (Cardiff FC, Wales); Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC, Portugal)
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Joe Ayodele-Aribo (Southampton FC, England); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England)
Forwards: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest, England); Gift Orban (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Boniface (Bayern Leverkusen, Germany)
Sierra Leone 2-3 Nigeria: Osimhen bags brace as Super Eagles qualify for 2023 AFCON
Victor Osimhen‘s remarkable performance propelled the Super Eagles to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Sierra Leone at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in Monrovia, Liberia.
With this win, Nigeria secured their place at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with a game to spare.
Osimhen made an early impact, coming close to scoring with a well-executed header that was brilliantly saved by Sierra Leone’s goalkeeper.
However, he soon found the back of the net, opening the scoring for the Super Eagles. Displaying his exceptional skills, Osimhen raced onto a clearance and skillfully placed his finish over the goalkeeper to give Nigeria an early advantage.
In the 32nd minute, Osimhen doubled Nigeria’s lead with another well-taken goal. His impressive performance continued to solidify his status as the leading scorer in the AFCON qualification, surpassing Sadio Mane and extending his international goal tally to 17, joining the likes of Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa, and Samson Siasia in Nigeria’s all-time scoring chart.
Sierra Leone mounted a spirited comeback and managed to equalize through Bundu’s powerful strike from outside the box.
Nigeria’s goalkeeper Adeleye made crucial saves to prevent further goals, but it was Kelechi Iheanacho who had the final say.
With the last kick of the game, Iheanacho calmly slotted home the winning goal from a Zaidu Sanusi cross, securing Nigeria’s victory.
The win propelled the Super Eagles to the top of Group A with 12 points from five matches, ensuring their qualification for the 2023 Afcon.
Despite having one more game to play against Sao Tome and Principe on home soil, Nigeria can approach the match with a sense of accomplishment and anticipation for the upcoming tournament.
Guinea-Bissau 0-1 Nigeria: Super Eagles beats Djurtus as they go top
In Monday’s second leg of a 2024 Africa Cup of Nations Cup qualifier, the Super Eagles defeated Guinea Bissau 1-0 thanks to Moses Simon’s penalty kick goal in the 30th minute.
Jose Peseiro’s elation at the final whistle at the Estádio Nacional 24 de Setembro in Bissau demonstrates that he needed a win following the shocking defeat to the Djurtus on Friday in Abuja.
In an effort to avenge the shocking 1-0 defeat on Friday, the Portuguese, who has received criticism for the defeat, made five changes to the Super Eagles team for Monday’s second leg against Guinea Bissau.
Kenneth Omeruo paired Friday substitute Semi Ajayi in the central defense, which resulted in a complete reorganization. Additionally in were Blunt Onyeka, Moses Simon, and Terem Moffi.
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