Admin l Friday, February 24, 2023
ABUJA, Nigeria – The Confederation of African Football has appointed Yannick Malala Kabanga from the Democratic Republic of Congo as referee for Saturday’s 23rd Africa Cup of Nations Group A clash between Nigeria and Mozambique in Ismailia.
Kabanga will be assisted by Styven Moutsassi Moyo from the Republic of Congo (assistant referee 1), Pascal Ndimunzigo from Burundi (assistant referee 2) and Moroccan Jalal Jayed, who will serve as fourth official.
Justin Mumba from Zambia will be the match commissioner while Beninoise Rosalie N’dah will be the referee assessor. On Friday morning, the delegation of seven-time champions Nigeria left the Jewel Sport City Hotel in Al Nasr, Cairo for the 90-minute road trip to Ismailia immediately after breakfast.
Head Coach Isah Ladan Bosso told thenff.com that the squad’s confidence and go-go spirit is back with the defeat of host nation Egypt on Wednesday, and he expects a strong performance against the southern Africans whom they confront at the 22,000 -capacity Suez Canal Stadium on Saturday evening.
“The win over Egypt has kept the nerves down and the boys can now focus on playing their game; the way we know they can play. We must stamp our authority on the game from the beginning as we have no idea what will happen in the match between Egypt and Senegal. Our fate is in our hands.”
Table-toppers Senegal are walking a few inches taller around the Jewel Sport City, having amassed a maximum six points from their two matches and looking forward to taking on the host nation at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday evening.
Both matches kick off simultaneously at 7pm Egypt time (6pm Nigeria time). The Flying Eagles will welcome back Belgium-based forward Ahmed Abdullahi, who was expelled for a second bookable offence in the opening day defeat to Senegal.
Victory over Mozambique will guarantee Nigeria a place in the last eight, and leave them with only that quarter-final headwind to sail into the FIFA U20 World Cup finals taking place in Indonesia early summer.
One-pointer Egypt can still qualify if they defeat Senegal, but final placement in Group A, as well as the two other groups, will determine the pairings for the quarter finals. The first-placed team in Group A will battle the third-placed team in Group B, while the second-placed team in Group A will confront the first-placed team in Group B.
Both Uganda and Congo top Group B with four points each and similar statistics, with South Sudan in third place and the Central African Republic without a point. Tunisia, Benin Republic, Zambia and The Gambia make up Group C. Only the two top-placed teams in each group are guaranteed a place in the last eight, alongside the best two third-placed teams. All four semi-finalists will fly Africa’s flag in Indonesia, 20th May – 11th June.