AFCON 2017: Nigeria, Egypt in date row

Oliseh wants best legs for encounter

BY JOE APU

The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF and the Egypt Football Federation, EFA appear to be in a date row regarding the AFCON 2017 qualifiers as the latter insisted that they are yet to be informed officially of the new date.
Reports emanating from Cairo yesterday stated that the EFA had not received any official notification regarding the postponement of their away game which is scheduled for late March.
“No official letters have been received yet regarding the Nigeria-Egypt game’s rescheduling and we’ll announce when we get confirmation,” the association board member Ehab Lehitah said on the EFA official website.
The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) had announced Saturday that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) approved delaying the upcoming qualifier against Egypt.
According to the NFF, the game which was supposed to take place March 23 is now confirmed for March 26, only three days before the scheduled second-leg in Egypt.
“Egypt will start a training camp ahead of the qualifiers on 23 February, four days before they play Burkina Faso friendly in Borg El-Arab Stadium, Alexandria,” Lehitah added.
Egypt was scheduled to host Nigeria for the second-leg qualifier on 29 March in Borg El-Arab but some reports suggested that the EFA wanted to move the game to Cairo stadium.
The Pharaohs will suffer a heavy schedule, especially as most key players from Ahly and Zamalek clubs had other African commitments between 18-20 March, a week before the two-leg national teams clash.
The Pharaohs are on top of Group G of the Nations Cup qualifiers with six points from wins over Tanzania and Chad.
Nigeria is second on four points.
Egypt is bidding to reach the Nations Cup for the first time in five years since last winning their record seventh title in 2010.
Meanwhile, Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh has highlighted the importance of the clash against Egypt insisting that he is keen to play the two games with the best possible squad.
“This game is one we want to go with all the artillery we have,” Oliseh said.
When asked about West Ham striker Victor Moses, who has not played under his guidance since he took charge of the Super Eagles last July, Oliseh said the calling up of the Chelsea loan depends on his physical situation before the game.
“Victor Moses is doing well, but he is always on and off; injured… okay… injured… okay…” he said.
“Everyone who is doing well knows he will be considered for selection.”
With only the group winners guaranteed automatic qualification to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, second-placed Nigeria have no choice but to beat group leaders Egypt to improve their position in the group.

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