Three-time champions Super Eagles have been drawn to play Guinea and debutants Madagascar and Burundi in a tricky Group B of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The colourful draw ceremony, which took place behind the historical Giza Pyramids, had ex-Ghana captain now CAF Assistant Secretary-General Anthony Baffoe in charge of the event, with other African football greats Ahmed Hassan, Yaya Toure and El Hadji Diouf assisting him.
The tournament takes place from June 21 to July 19.
Nigeria were among the six seeded teams in Pot A following the release of the draw procedures by the Confederation of African Football on Thursday.
The other five seeded teams are Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco and Cameroon.
Guinea, who picked silver ahead of Nigeria at the 1976 AFCON in Ethiopia, are making their 12th appearance with Nigeria going for their 18th appearance.
Group A has hosts Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda and Zimbabwe, while Senegal, Algeria, Kenya and Tanzania are in Group C.
In Group D, Namibia face an uphill task against former champions Morocco, Ivory Coast and South Africa in what is seen as the group of death.
Group E will have Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania and Angola battling, while current champions and five-time winners Cameroon, four-time winners Ghana, Benin and Guinea-Bissau are in Group F.
Edema Fuludu, a winner of the AFCON in 1994, described Group B as an easy pool the Eagles should take advantage of.
“I see no reason why the Eagles shouldn’t come out tops of that group,” Fuludu said.
“They say big names don’t play football anymore but I don’t see the likes of Burundi and Madagascar constituting an obstacle to the Eagles’ chances in Egypt.
“Going by our current FIFA ranking and our achievements in the competition, it’s an easy group for the Eagles.”
Before the draw ceremony, Eagles coach Gernot Rohr was happy to avoid record winners and hosts Egypt.
“We are in the same pot, so we cannot meet Egypt. Because when you play the host country, it’s always very difficult,” Rohr stated in a short video interview posted on the Confederation of African Football’s Twitter handle.
“It becomes more difficult when you have a team like the one you have here in Egypt.”
The last time the Eagles competed at the tournament in 2013, they emerged champions but were absent in the last two editions in 2015 and 2017.
The Eagles first won the AFCON title in 1980 on home soil before Dutchman, Clemens Westerhof, led the country’s golden generation to another triumph in 1994 in Tunisia.
Gowon Brought Half of CBN to UK, Nigerian Officials Have Loot Here – British MP
A member of the United Kingdom Parliament, Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling) took a swipe at retired General Yakubu Gowon on Monday.
Gowon was Nigeria’s Head of State from 1966 to 1975.
During the debate on a petition on End SARS, Tugendhat accused him and the country’s leaders of corruption.
Decrying the situation in Nigeria, the lawmaker said: “One of the great countries is, sadly, being racked by violence, and violence against young people.
The greatest book in the English Language is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the great Nigerian writer. The beauty of that book is the way it explains the challenge of changing generations to live together.
“The way it speaks about values falling away and community being eroded by outside pressure. What we’re seeing in Nigeria today is part of that story.
“It’s a tragedy that we are watching, it’s a tragedy that we are all witnessing. The pressure this time is not foreign colonialism, the pressure instead is corruption and violence.
“We need to call out the corruption, we need to use the powers that we have in this country to stop those profiting from the wealth of that great nation and hiding it here.
“Some people will remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half the Central Bank and moved to London.
“We know that today, even now, in this great city of ours, there are, sadly, some people who have taken from the Nigerian people and hidden their ill-gotten gains here.
“We know that our banks, sadly, have been used for that profit and for that illegal transfer of assets.
“And that means the UK is in enormous unique position in being able to do
actually something to really exert pressure on those who have robbed the Nigerian people.”
MPs including Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet), Kate Osamor (Edmonton), Lyn Carol Brown (West Ham), Taiwo Owatemi (Coventry North West) made contributions.
The lawmakers urged the Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, and the UK Foreign Office to engage Nigerian authorities and brief parliament subsequently.
#EndSARS: CNN Calls FG’s Bluff, Releases Second Report on Lekki Shootings
Amid threats of sanction from the Federal Government over its investigative report on the shootings at Lekki toll plaza during the #EndSARS protests, CNN has released a second report on the incident.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had last week described CNN’s report on the Lekki shootings as poor journalism, adding that the network deserved to be sanctioned.
Mohammed also followed up the threat with a letter addressed to the management of CNN in Atlanta.
However, the network on Tuesday did a second report with more damning footage showing soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters on October 20, 2020.
The fresh report also shows the Commander, 81 Division, Brig.Gen Ahmed Taiwo, admitting before the judicial panel in Lagos that his men indeed took live ammunition to the tollgate.
The CNN report also highlights the fact that Brig.Gen Taiwo’s claim is at variance with the minister’s who had claimed last week that the army fired blank bullets.
The fresh report also shows protesters running as soldiers open fire at the tollgate.
The National Broadcasting Commission, which is overseen by the information minister, had last month slammed hefty fines on three Nigerian television stations for daring to use some of the footage which CNN has also used.
The Federal Government has been receiving flak from members of the United Kingdom Parliament and Amnesty International over the killing of protesters.
Buhari’s Letter Seeking Yakubu’s Confirmation as INEC Chairman Read in Senate
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has asked the Senate to confirm the appointment of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, for a second term in office.
Buhari’s official communication to the red chamber was read on the floor during plenary on Tuesday, by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.
He sought the lawmakers’ expeditious consideration of his request for another five-year tenure for Yakubu.