President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick has revealed that Super Eagles’ opening game of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers will be played in Benin City, Edo State.
The 20,000-capacity Ogbemudia Stadium had hosted some international matches in the past, with a goalless draw against Morocco in a 1984 AFCON qualifier being its first.
The choice of Ogbemudia stadium for the game, billed to hold in March 2020, was made known by Pinnick during a radio program in Lagos.
“You cannot talk about Nigerian football without talking about Edo,” said Pinnick on Brila FM.
“At a point in time, you have to find Premier League clubs like Flash Flamingoes, Bendel United, Bendel Insurance.
“All these clubs were in Benin and they paraded most of the Super Eagles players so football is coming home and that’s why we are bringing the first World Cup qualifying match to Benin City.”
The Eagles and 25 top ranked African teams will be joined by 14 winners from the first round for the second round of the qualifiers, which is the group stage.
Teams will be drawn into ten groups of four teams each, with the winners from each group advancing to the final round, where they will be paired against one another for the third round, as only five teams will represent Africa at the global showpiece in Qatar.
The group stage (second round) draw of the qualifiers will be conducted next month in Egypt.