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Nigeria to know 2025 AFCON qualification opponents on Thursday

Three-time champions and five-time runners-up, Nigeria, are set to discover their opponents for the qualification race of the 35th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals. The draw for the 2025 AFCON will be conducted on Thursday in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ademola Olajire, the Director of Communications at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), confirmed the details in a statement released on Tuesday in Abuja. The draw will take place inside the SuperSport studio in South Africa’s commercial and economic hub.

The draw will allocate 48 countries into 12 groups of four teams each. The top two teams in 11 of the groups will qualify directly for the finals, which are scheduled from December 21, 2025, to January 18, 2026. The 12th group, which includes the host nation Morocco, will see Morocco qualify regardless of their position, alongside one other team from the group.

The qualifying matches will be played during the FIFA international windows in September, October, and November this year.

All of Nigeria’s current opponents in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying race, including Benin Republic, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, are also in Thursday’s draw.

48 Teams in the Draw:

POT 1:

  • Morocco
  • Senegal
  • Egypt
  • Cote d’Ivoire
  • Nigeria
  • Tunisia
  • Algeria
  • Cameroon
  • Mali
  • South Africa
  • DR Congo
  • Ghana

POT 2:

  • Cape Verde
  • Burkina Faso
  • Guinea
  • Gabon
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Zambia
  • Benin Republic
  • Angola
  • Uganda
  • Namibia
  • Mozambique
  • Madagascar

POT 3:

  • Kenya
  • Mauritania
  • Congo
  • Tanzania
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Libya
  • Comoros
  • Togo
  • Sudan
  • Sierra Leone
  • Malawi
  • Central African Republic

POT 4:

  • Niger Republic
  • Zimbabwe
  • Rwanda
  • The Gambia
  • Burundi
  • Liberia
  • Ethiopia
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini
  • South Sudan
  • Chad

Nigeria is optimistic about a favorable draw as they aim to secure a spot in the prestigious tournament and continue their strong football legacy on the African continent.

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