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AFCON 2017: Egypt may reject Kaduna venue

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In from Nifemi Daniel

The Egypt Football Federation (EFF) may consider rejecting Kaduna as venue for the 2017 AFCON qualifier between their senior male national football team, the Pharaohs and the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) last week on its website announced that the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna state will host the qualifying match against Egypt on Wednesday, March 23, 2016.

The Ahmadu Bello Stadium which hosted Nigeria’s 2-0 win over Chad has been on the news recently after the NFF threatened to sanction the Super Eagles captain, Vincent Enyeama, who raised security concerns over the venue considering the incessant insurgence in the northern part of Nigeria.

But Ripples.com.ng exclusively scooped that the Egyptian FA are not favourably disposed to playing Nigeria in any part of Northern Nigeria which automatically ruled out Kaduna as venue.

“We know the security challenges Nigeria is facing from insurgents in the Northern part and it will not be wise for the NFF to take our match to Kaduna which is located in the North.

“Every country has their security challenges including Egypt but FIFA and CAF put security of lives first in everything when organising a match. The FA will meet and issue an official statement in regards to the issue,” revealed a staff at the EFF secretariat who pleaded anonymity.

Meanwhile, speaking with Ripples.com.ng, an official of the Nigeria Football Federation has dismissed the threat by the Egyptians saying their arguments are baseless.

“Let them write us first. I’m not mandated to speak on this issue but I can authoritatively say that the Egyptians have no genuine reasons to reject Kaduna as our venue. We hosted Chad and there was no single report of security challenge,” revealed the furious official who doesn’t want his name in print.

He added that, “They can’t dictate for us the choice of our venue but rather we should be the one to be skeptical of the venue they would be hosting the Super Eagles because we all know the gimmicks of North African countries and their clubs during CAF matches.”

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Nigeria and Egypt share top spot on the Group G table of the qualifiers, with the Pharaohs ahead on a one-goal advantage.

They had whipped Tanzania’s Taifa Stars 3-0 in Cairo in penultimate weekend’s opening matches, a day after the Super Eagles beat Chad 2-0 in Kaduna.

Super Eagles’ next game comes up on the weekend of September 4 to 6 in Tanzania against the Taifa Stars at the 60,000 capacity National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Egypt will also on the weekend of September 4 to 6 be away to Chad.

Only the top-placed team at the end of the six-game qualifying series will secure automatic qualification to the 2017 AFCON to be hosted by Gabon.

Egypt have missed all last three AFCON finals, including the 2013 finals which Nigeria won in South Africa.

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