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The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) has approved the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja for the second leg of the 2022 World Cup playoff between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and the Black Stars of Ghana.
Raul Chipenda, CAF’s Director of Development made this known on Thursday in a letter addressed to Mr. Mohammed Sanusi, General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
The letter titled “FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers Playoff rounds-Nigeria-Venue decision” reads: “Dear General Secretary, Reference to the participation of the national team of Nigeria in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers playoff rounds which will take place from March 21 to March 29, 2022, following the stadium assessment and inspection process conducted by CAF, kindly find below the decision on the venue selected by your association:Venue: Moshood Abiola National Stadium (Abuja); Decision: APPROVED. Please note that the approved stadium will be set as the venue to host the match Nigeria Vs. Ghana related to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers playoff round.
“Nonetheless, please find attached in Annex A the inspection comments and remarks to be addressed in the coming period by your association, in order to guarantee that the stadium is maintained in the list of CAF approved stadiums for senior competitions. Among other aspects mentioned in the report, the stadium management is requested to ensure that the playing surface area, floodlights, and the dressing rooms are brought up to the required level to host this important match. We appreciate your contribution in helping us raise the level of African football with improved facilities as we continue to gain exposure to a global audience. Please accept, dear General Secretary, the expression of my best regards”.
With the approval, international football returns to Abuja after a hiatus of nearly 10 years.
Confirming CAF’s decision, Toyin Ibitoye, Special Assistant to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said CAF officials had inspected the pitch a few weeks ago.
“The CAF team inspected the Moshood Abiola National stadium, Abuja a few weeks back and the good news is that the stadium has been approved by CAF for Nigeria’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 African qualifiers playoffs game second leg game against Ghana in March,” he said. Ibitoye said the development was in line with efforts by the minister to return international football to Abuja after the rehabilitation of the 60,000 capacity Moshood Abiola stadium.
“I have been told to give you the good news by the minister that our efforts to return football to Moshood Abiola National stadium Abuja is yielding very positive results, one of which is this approval from CAF,” he added. The Super Eagles of Nigeria will clash with the Black Stars of Ghana in a playoff for one of the five spots to represent Africa at the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
According to CAF, Ghana will host the first leg with the return leg in Abuja, both matches will hold from March 24 to March 29. Earlier, CAF had rejected a request from the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to name a new venue for the first leg of the encounter.
The GFA sought to move the first leg of the tie from the Cape Coast Stadium to the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi. The Cape Coast Stadium is billed to host the country’s Independence Day celebration on March 6.
CAF turned down the request, stating that it fell outside the time allowed for such. The FIFA World Cup 2022 preliminary competition regulations in its article 21 venues, kick-off times, and training sessions stipulate that “The venues of matches shall be set by the host association and/or by the confederation, as applicable, and the matches may only be played in stadiums that have been inspected and approved by the confederation concerned.
Source: Guardian News
This post was written by Chinedu Ibeakanma.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.