The draw for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying series was conducted on Tuesday evening, with three-time African champions, Nigeria, drawn in Group A with Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and either Sao Tome & Principe or Mauritius.
Super Eagles to face Sierra Leone again, reignites battle with Guinea Bissau
The qualifying matches will take place between June 2022 and March 2023.
The draws were conducted at the SuperSport Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday, by CAF Director of Competitions Samson Adamu and assisted by African football legends Lucas Radebe of South Africa and Ivorian Solomon Kalou.
It saw current AFCON holders Senegal get drawn into Group L with Benin Republic, Mozambique and Rwanda.
For Nigeria who failed to get past the round of 16 of the last edition of the AFCON in Cameroon earlier this year, a new challenge presents itself.
Between June 2022 and March 2023, the Super Eagles will race toward qualification but must first see off the trio of Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and Sao Tome & Principe or Mauritius in a round-robin format.
Asides from failing to live up to expectations in their last outing at the AFCON tournament in Cameroon, the Super Eagles also failed to make it to the World Cup in Qatar.
The last time Nigeria failed to qualify for the AFCON tournament was in 2017 having also failed to qualify for the 2015 edition.
The Super Eagles have won the AFCON title on three different occasions while they have settled for the runners-up position on four different occasions. They are Africa's best third-place finishers, having won the loser’s final an unprecedented eight times.
Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome & Principe/Mauritius
Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Togo, Eswatini
Cameroon, Kenya, Namibia, Burundi
Egypt, Guinea, Malawi, Ethiopia
Ghana, Madagascar, Angola, Central African Republic
Algeria, Uganda, Niger Republic, Tanzania
Mali, Congo, The Gambia, South Sudan
Cote d'Ivoire, Zambia, Comoros, Lesotho
DR Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Sudan
Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Botswana
Morocco, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Liberia
Senegal, Benin Republic, Mozambique, Rwanda