Nigeria’s Super Eagles will face Zimbabwe and Senegal in friendlies ahead of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt.
The president of the Nigeria Football Federation made the official announcement on Wednesday, but the Zimbabwe match up had been rumoured to have been set up last week.
Nigeria will host the Warriors on June 8 in Asaba before facing the continent’s top side Senegal in Egypt eight days later as part of the acclimatization process.
“There cannot possibly be a better way to get into the AFCON spirit than playing the number one–ranked team in Africa just before the finals begin,” Amaju Melvin Pinnick said.
The three-time AFCON winning nation open their campaign against Burundi on June 22 and will also play Guinea and debutants Madagascar in the group stage.
For skipper Jon-Obi Mikel and a number of other senior players this will be an opportunity to step out of the shadow of Nigeria’s golden generation who were only able to capture the AFCON title once. Nigeria last won the AFCON title in the 2013 tournament held in South Africa.
Zimbabwe have been drawn in a tough Group A with hosts Egypt, the DRC and Uganda.
Senegal will be heavily favoured to progress from their group, with Liverpool striker Sadio Mane set to lead the line. Senegal are the number one-ranked team in Africa but have never won an AFCON trophy, coming close in 2002. Senegal are drawn against Algeria, Kenya and Tanzania in Group C.
The tournament has added an extra round since going up to include 24 nations. The top two teams of each of the six groups, along with the best four third-placed teams, advance to the round of 16.