Super Eagles Get New AFCON, World Cup Qualifiers Dates

The Super Eagles will resume their 2021 AFCON qualifying campaign in November, while their bid to qualify for the 2022 World Cup will start in May.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) announced the revised schedule for both campaigns on Wednesday.

CAF suspended the 2021 AFCON qualifiers in March because of the coronavirus pandemic which wreaked havoc on the football calendar and led to the cancellation of the 2020 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations.

The men’s tournament which will take place in Cameroon was moved by a year and will now take place in 2022.

In a statement on its website, CAF disclosed that the third and fourth round of 2021 AFCON qualifiers will now take place between 9-17 November with the fifth and final round scheduled for 22-30 March 2021.

Nigeria lead Group L and are well placed to qualify for the continental showpiece having won their first two qualifiers against the Benin Republic in Uyo and Lesotho in Maseru. 

The three-time African champions face the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in a doubleheader before rounding up against the Squirrels of Benin away from home and Crocodiles of Lesotho in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers will now kick-off in May 2021 and end in October 2021.

The qualifiers which have a new format was originally supposed to begin in November.

The campaign will see forty teams divided into ten groups of four will battle for the chance to qualify for the last phase.
Group winners will then face-off in a straight knockout for one of five slots at what will be the first-ever World Cup to be held in November.

Nigeria have been drawn alongside Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia.

The CAF statement adds that all matchdays will feature double headers from November 2020 through to November 2021 in the battle for spots to the final tournament of the two competitions.