CHAN23: CAF selects Abuja, Uyo stadia for qualifiers
By Oviri Kelvin
The Confederations of African Football (CAF) have selected the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja and Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, as part of the venues to host the qualifiers of the 2023 African Nations Championship (CHAN), The Trumpet reliably gathered.
In the list released by the continental football governing body to announce the venues for the qualifiers, both Nigerian stadia which have hosted continental tourneys were expected to be among the lots.
Recently, precisely on May 20, 2022, Godswill Akpabio International Stadium hosted the final of the CAF Confederation Cup between South African top-flight club, Orlando Pirates, and Moroccan club, RS Berkane, where the latter won 5-4 on penalties after playing 1-1 full-time draw.
Like a recurring decimal, the Moshood Abiola National Stadium is the venue of most CAF and FIFA tournaments where all Nigeria’s national football teams process their home matches against other countries’ national teams.
Meanwhile, while Nigeria will play their qualifying home matches in either Abuja or Uyo, fifteen African nations whose stadia do not meet CAF standards, will play theirs away from their native countries.
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According to a report by ATP, South African countries top the list of countries whose stadia did not meet the CAF specifications with 6 while East African countries trailed with 4 in the 15 countries released.
The list of countries includes Lesotho, Liberia, Kenya, Libya, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Eswatini and Zimbabwe.
“Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia have been hosting matches in neighbouring South Africa and they look certain to continue on that path,” ATP reported.
“On the other hand, countries such as Malawi have received temporary relief as their venue can, for now, host matches subject to fulfilment of some pre conditions,” ATP stated.
However, the qualifiers billed to kick off next month, July 22, for the first leg, will hold the second leg within August circa 26 where Salisu Yusuf, head coach of the Nigeria CHAN team, is expected to lead the country to victory.