Nigeria appear to face an easy route to the 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa following last night’s draws which pitched the Super Eagles against Liberia in a two-leg elimination for the qualification ticket.
Liberia, at 35, are the lowest ranked team in the draw and the Nigerians will fancy their chances of qualifying for the tournament.
The Liberians host the first leg in the weekend of September 7-9, while the reverse fixture holds over the weekend of October 7-9 in Nigeria
Former Eagles striker and current assistant coach, Daniel Amokachi was on hand to help with the draw, which was also witnessed by Coach Stephen Keshi, who would be excited with the prospects of playing Liberia, a team that Nigerian only recently defeated 2-0 in a friendly match in Monrovia.
In that game, Keshi fielded only home-based players, who conquered their hosts and the coach was full of praise for the team at that time. Keshi, is rebuilding the Eagles on the wings of the home-based players, a decision which has been hailed by stakeholders
But Keshi, like his Eagles stars, would be anticipating a keener test this time around, because the prize is a ticket to play in the next edition of the Nations. Having missed the last edition held in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, Nigeria would be hoping to make amends by doing en encore over Liberia.
In other fixtures, Ivory Coast were paired with Senegal in the highlight of the final qualifying round draw for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa made on Thursday.
The Ivorian Elephants finished runners-up to Zambia after a penalty shootout in the 2012 final in Libreville last February after captain and star striker Didier Drogba blazed a regular-time spot kick over.
Zambia start their title defence with a home game against Uganda while the Black Stars of Ghana will fancy their chances against Malawi
Central African Republic, shock qualifiers for the round-of-30 draw at the expense of Egypt, were paired with Burkina Faso and have a good chance of winning and making a first appearance at the tournament.
Ethiopia, another country to upset the odds by ousting Benin, face Sudan in a spicy East African derby and another intriguing regional showdown pits Libya against Algeria.