PRELIMINARY ROUND 2 QUALIFIER
Super Eagles' skipper, Joseph Yobo, has reiterated his team's determination to make the 2013 Nations Cup a must after Nigeria crashed out in the qualifying race for the 2012 edition in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The Fenerbhace player said Eagles would do everything to redeem their image by scaling the first hurdle in the 2013 Nations Cup preliminary Round 2 qualifier against Rwanda next year. Yobo, who is yet to overcome the shock of not qualifying after the Guinea 2-2 draw in Abuja recently, said he would strive to make the disappointment a thing of the past, depending on the calibre of technical crew expected to handle the team.
Only few days a go, coach Samson Siasia was dismissed by the Nigeria Football Federation, (NFF) over poor performance and with its intention to hire the former skipper of the team, Stephen Keshi, as his replacement. Yobo is already looking forward with great optimism to see Nigeria out of its present predicament and forge ahead in the series.'We have been thought many lessons by our opponents in recent times. The smallest country can surprise you. All the same, we should put our failure to qualify for the 2012 edition behind us and move ahead in the competition,'he said.
Last Thursday, Yobo led his Turkish club, Fenerbahce, to play a 2-2 draw away duel with Besiktas to still maintain its number one position on the table. With 18 points from 8 matches, Fenerbahce is billed to tackle Kardemir Karabukspor today, to further amass the 3 points at stake to lead Trabsonspor and Orduspor the two clubs contesting number one spot with Yobo's team. Meanwhile, the Nations Cup two rounds of matches will be played to reach the tournament, and teams which failed to qualify for the 2012 edition will have to negotiate one extra round of qualifiers.Hosts South Africa qualify automatically.
With the Super Eagles failing to qualify for the 2012 edition, the country joins 45 other teams which will have to play an additional round of games. The 16 teams that qualified for the 2012 edition get an automatic ticket from the first two rounds and enter directly in the final round of qualifiers that begins after Next year's tournament.
The draw was conducted Friday by the sub-committee of the Africa Cup of Nations organising committee in Malabo.
The matches are to be played in the first half of 2012 with exact dates to be communicated later.