Former Cote d’Ivoire head coach Francois Zahoui has tipped the Super Eagles of Nigeria as one of the teams to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Completesports.com reports.
Zahoui, who led Cote d’Ivoire to the final of the 2012 AFCON where they lost to Zambia on penalties, stated this in an interview with FIFA.
The 57-year-old is the current coach of Central Africa Republic who are drawn in the same 2022 World Cup qualifying group that has Nigeria, Liberia and Cape Verde.
When asked for his favourites to qualify for the World Cup, Zahoui said: “The favourites are the ones that participated in previous editions and have the necessary experience, such as Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Cameroon, despite the latter’s recent travails.
“Côte d’Ivoire are also a strong side that will compete fiercely for a place. There’re other teams that missed out on the last edition, such as Algeria, who I see as strong contenders for qualification this time.
“And you should also watch for some teams that have recently bounced back strongly, such as Mali, who I consider a good candidate for qualification, as well as South Africa. As for us Central Africans, that’s going to be extremely difficult.”
Speaking more about Central African Republic’s group chances in the qualifiers, he said his side will give their best even though they don’t really stand a chance.
“We must accept that Nigeria are clear favourites,” Zahoui said. “They’ve already participated in several World Cups, including the latest one, and have the required experience.”
Regarding Cape Verde and Liberia, the coach said the former are “one of Africa’s strong teams. It’ll not be easy for us to beat them in these qualifiers, as they’re more experienced. As for Liberia, I think we’re more or less of the same standard.
“But all this is in theory – the pitch might have another opinion. However, as far as we’re concerned, we’ll certainly compete with everything we have to achieve positive results, although we know very well our standard compared to the others.”
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