Sierra Leone will kick off African Cup Nations 2023 qualifying campaign against Nigeria on June 9 in Abuja, Nigeria, as coach John Keister names his team ahead of the doubleheader.

The Leone Stars set to open camp in the neighbouring Guinean capital before travelling to Nigeria. Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja will host Nigeria’s 2023 AFCON opening qualifier against Sierra Leone behind closed doors.

General Lansana Conté stadium to host the Leone Stars home tie against Guinea Bissau on June 13 as expected, the core of the last AFCON squads returns to the fold with a few notable omissions.

Prominent inclusions are defensive midfielder John Kamara of Politehnica Iași, China-based striker Mohamed Buya Turay, new skipper Steven Caulker, QPR’s defender Osman Kakay, Sirius left-back Kevin Wrights, Augustus Kargbo of FC Crotone, Italy),  Mustapha Bundu AGF Aarhus on loan from Anderlecht.

The new names are defensive midfielder Ibrahim Sillah, Kickers Emden, 19-year-old Tottenham youngster Kallum Cesay, Amadou Bakayoko Bolton Wanderers, Kamil Conteh, Middlesbrough, and Jonathan Morsay of Greek side Panetolikos.

There is no place for Charleston Battery’s striker Augustine Williams, former skipper Umaru Bangura Neuchâtel Switzerland, Issa Kallon and Randers striker Alhaji Kamara who has just returned to training following back surgery.

The last meeting between the two West African nations in Nigeria was a 4-4 draw, played at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, on November 20 2022.

Sierra Leone qualified for the 33rd edition of the continental showpiece in Cameroon, second behind Nigeria, after defeating Benin on June 15 2021.

Connect with us on Twitter, @football_sierra, on Facebook/ Instagram, Football Sierra Leone, and the writer Alie Bittar on Twitter @bittar32 – Contact; bittar@footballsierraleonet.

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