2021 AFCON qualifier: Super Eagles, Leone Stars to clash in Asaba, NFF says

The Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba will host next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.

Ademola Olajire, the Director of Communications, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), announced this in a statement on Sunday, quoting the federation’s General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi.

“We have finally settled for the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba for the qualifying match against Sierra Leone and it will be played on March 27,’’ Sanusi was quoted as saying.

The venue, named after former Nigeria captain and coach Stephen Keshi of blessed memory, has hosted several international matches since 2018.

Since it was opened two years ago, it has hosted matches involving the Super Eagles and the Nigeria under-23 male squad.

Uganda were the first opposition entertained at the 15,400-capacity venue by the Super Eagles, in a friendly match which ended scoreless.

This came days after Nigeria sealed a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) ticket in South Africa in November 2018.

The Eagles have since beaten Seychelles 3-1 (2019 AFCON qualifier) and seven-times African champions Egypt 1-0 (a friendly) at the same venue.

They also had a scoreless draw with Zimbabwe in a pre- 2019 AFCON friendly in June last year.

The under-23 team on their part beat Libya and Sudan in 2019 Under-23 AFCON qualifying matches at the same venue.

Olajire disclosed that with NFF now having picked March 27 for the first match, the Sierra Leone Football Association is now likely to opt for March 31 for the return leg.

“That day is the final day in the FIFAwindow, and it is expected as the last possible date for the return leg scheduled for the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown.’’ 

NAN reports that victory in next month’s Match Day 3 fixture against the Leone Stars will take the Super Eagles closer to the 2021 AFCON finals.

They currently perch at the top of their pool with the maximum six points from their first two matches and a goals difference of plus three.

A 2-1 win over Benin Republic in Uyo on Nov. 13 was followed by a 4-2 whiplash of Lesotho in Maseru four days later.

The Super Eagles have further dates against the Squirrels of Benin Republic in Cotonou in June and the Crocodiles of Lesotho in Nigeria in September.(NAN)