Officials at Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are putting on hold moves to seal additional international friendlies for the Super Eagles until after the draw for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in April.
Although NFF president, Amaju Melvin Pinnick on Monday hinted that the Eagles will play two additional AFCON 2019 build-up matches at their final training base, before heading out to Egypt for the continental soccer showpiece, officials say no opposition has yet been named.
A top source in The Glasshouse intimated footballlive.ng with workings of the NFF egg heads, with a declaration that it would be detrimental to the Eagles’ chances and planning were friendlies to be arranged against teams that end up being drawn into the same group with Nigeria.
Following confirmation by Egypt Football Association (EFA) that the draw will now hold in April, the NFF source said all the options for friendlies matches will be left open-ended for the Eagles.
The Eagles, who failed to reach the past two editions, 2015 and 2017, after winning in 2013, have already qualified for the 2019 tournament with a round of games to spare.
They will now aim to rewrite history at 2019 AFCON, which will have an expanded tournament of 24 teams, from June 15 to July 13.
As a late replacement for Cameroon, it will be Egypt’s fifth time of staging the African football showpiece – after they hosted it in 1959, 1974, 1986 and 2006.
EFA top shot, Ahmed Medjahed disclosed that the AFCON 2019 draw will be conducted in the first week of April.
Medjahed added: “Six stadiums for the competition are already ready, while we will have all nine stadiums for the AFCON (before June).”