Tomorrow in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, the Super Eagles will know whether they have to battle Senegal, historic 2022 World Cup semifinalists Morocco or hosts Cote d’Ivoire in the first round of the 2023 AFCON.
Three-time African champions Nigeria face a daunting task at the delayed AFCON to be played in January 2024 after they were not among the top seeds for the tournament.
The silver lining in the draw seedings for the Eagles is that they will at least avoid nemesis Cameroon, who have denied them three AFCON titles in the final, and perennial arch-rivals Ghana in the group stage of the competition as they were drawn in the same Pot 2.
Nigeria could draw 2026 World Cup rivals South Africa, who are in Pot 3, while the likes of Mozambique, Angola and The Gambia are in Pot 4.
The Super Eagles strikers – Victor Osimhem, Victor Boniface, Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Terem Moffi – are firing in Europe, but there is need for more quality in midfield and defence and for the team to play as a unit.
The NFF have already set a semifinal target for coach Jose Peseiro, who on his own has often maintained his team will go all the way to win a fourth AFCON in Abidjan.
In 1984 in Abidjan, the Super Eagles fell to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the tournament final under local coach Adeboye Onigbinde.