Previous
Walsall
Port Vale
1
2
FT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Colchester United
3
1
FT
Game Details
Crewe Alexandra
Shrewsbury Town
1
2
FT
Game Details
Barnsley
Bradford City
2
1
FT
Game Details
Carlisle United
Stoke City U21
(4) 1
(5) 1
FT-Pens
Stoke City U21 wins 5-4 on Penalty Kicks.
Game Details
Morecambe
Sunderland
0
1
FT
Game Details
Bury
Fleetwood Town
3
1
FT
Game Details
Blackpool
Accrington Stanley
3
2
FT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
West Bromwich Albion U21
2
1
FT
Game Details
Grimsby Town
Newcastle United U21
2
3
FT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Scunthorpe United
3
2
FT
Game Details
Gillingham
Crawley Town
2
1
FT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Tottenham U21
3
2
FT
Game Details
Newport County
Plymouth Argyle
2
0
FT
Game Details
Exeter City
Bristol Rovers
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Coventry City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Charlton Athletic
Swansea City U21
0
1
FT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Brighton and Hove Albion U21
2
3
FT
Game Details
Peterborough United
Luton Town
2
1
FT
Game Details
Next

Is AFCON qualifier postponement good news for Nigeria?

On Thursday, the Confederation of African Football approved a proposal by Amaju Pinnick, President of the Nigerian Football Federation, to postpone March's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers involving the continent's five World Cup representatives.

Among the fixtures to be rescheduled are Nigeria's away game in the Seychelles, and Senegal's visit to Madagascar, while Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco will all also have their matches pushed back.

In this feature, we examine whether the rescheduling suits Nigeria, who will surely be desperate not to miss out on a third consecutive edition of the continental showpiece.

Nigeria can now schedule top-level friendlies

A match against the Seychelles - one of African football's genuine minnows - is hardly a test for the Super Eagles, while precisely what this team needs now, is the chance to go toe to toe with some of the world's tougher sides.

By the time March rolls around, Nigeria will already know the identities of their three group-stage opponents, and that international window offers Gernot Rohr the opportunity to test his side against a country who may have a similar level and playing style to their World Cup foe.

Unsurprisingly, Nigeria are unlikely to come up against a side with too many familiarities to the Seychelles this summer!

This decision by CAF should be applauded as it favours the continent's World Cup representatives, allowing them to make the most of that international break to prepare for the challenges to come, rather than the distraction of a qualifier.

Might Nigeria suffer a post-World Cup hangover?

One reason why the Super Eagles may prefer to play the Seychelles in March rather than after the World Cup, is that they're more likely to approach the fixture in form, and less likely to be tackling the qualifiers while dealing with a post-tournament hangover.

Nigeria have occasionally struggled to settle in the aftermath of a World Cup, a tournament which provides an ideal opportunity for senior players - notably Uche Okechukwu and Nwankwo Kanu in the past - to end their international careers on a high.

This is unlikely to happen for the current team considering the age of the squad and the impending Nations Cup in 2019, but will Rohr still be at the helm beyond Russia?

While the German coach has enjoyed great success to date, Nigeria coaches have regularly left their post in a World Cup year, with Lars Lagerback, Bora Milutinovic and Clemens Westerhof all departing in the aftermath of the tournament.

One shock defeat, or an untimely group-stage exit, and suddenly Rohr risks undermining much of his good work from the last 18 months.

Could that then have a knock-on effect for Nigeria's Nations Cup hopes?

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.