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Saturday, September 30, 2023

2023 AFCON Qualifying Recap: Groups A-D

Group A

Analysis

  • Nigeria had a difficult time dealing with Sierra Leone but the response was positive from the team after going down early to the Leone Stars. Moses Simon continues to be at his best by creating opportunities for the Super Eagles forwards.
  • Super Eagles manager José Peseiro cannot take much away from a Nigeria national team record 10-0 victory over São Tomé and Príncipe but will be happy with the results this week following difficult friendly tests against Mexico and Ecuador. The favorable draw in Group A is a great opportunity for the new manager to bring his team along without too much pressure.
  • Sierra Leone continue to recruit more and more European-based players to join the cause and it is clear that there is promise as manager John Keister builds his team following the retirement of a couple of veteran leaders. Forwards Jonathan Morsay and Amadou Bagayoko are making an instant impact and add to a strong attack.
  • It was crucial for the Leone Stars to comeback and draw against Guinea-Bissau on Monday considering it was a home fixture despite being played in Guinea. If the team can get six points from their two September fixtures against São Tomé and Príncipe then the second match against Guinea-Bissau will have the urgency of a cup final.
  • Guinea-Bissau continue to show why they have qualified for the last three AFCON’s but may look back with regret at failing to wrap up a win on Monday against Sierra Leone. The quality in the squad remains strong but a lack of home field advantage makes their return match against Sierra Leone more uncertain.
  • With the introduction of Belgian-born forward Zinho Gano, Guinea-Bissau saw positive signs on his competitive debut and will hope that the giant marksman can show more signs of being the reliable goal scorer they crave.
  • São Tomé and Príncipe got off to a dream start by opening the scoring in their first match against Guinea-Bissau but morale was crushed with fifteen unanswered goals between their 5-1 defeat to the Djurtus and 10-0 clobbering at the hands of Nigeria. It will be interesting to see if they can muster up any kind of resistance in their next two matches against Sierra Leone.

Best Goal of the Week

Jonathan Morsay- Sierra Leone vs. Nigeria

Next Two Matchdays

Matchday 3

Nigeria vs. Guinea-Bissau

Sierra Leone vs. São Tomé and Príncipe

Matchday 4

Guinea-Bissau vs. Nigeria

São Tomé and Príncipe vs. Sierra Leone

Group B