May 24, 2024

AFCON2023: Nigeria Vs Equatorial Guinea-Match Preview

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By Sportsgister

Jose Peseiro’s Super Eagles are hoping to commence their quest for a fourth African title with a victory over the National Thunder


Nigeria begin their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Equatorial Guinea, a game that has generated much interest from fans across Africa.


Sunday’s match will be the first encounter between both countries at the biennial African showpiece, and the Super Eagles would be aiming to gain the upper hand.


Juan Micha’s men go into this fixture full of high hopes having stayed unbeaten in their ten fixtures across all competitions. Their last defeat against Tunisia on June 2, 2022 – with Youssef Msakni’s second-half brace completing inspiring a 4-0 decimation at the Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi in Rades.


Meanwhile, Jose Peseiro’s team will not have the luxury of a full-strength squad, with the likes of Wilfred Ndidi, Victor Boniface and Taiwo Awoniyi all missing out due to injuries.


Regardless, they know that anything short of a win could prove costly.


Match Preview

Nigeria go into this fixture sort of depleted with injury forcing two key players out few days to the commencement of Cote d’Ivoire 2023.


Injuries had ruled out Taiwo Awoniyi and Wilfred Ndidi in December 2023. But recently, Victor Boniface and Umar Sadiq were replaced as they suffered contrasting setbacks.


Nevertheless, Jose Peseiro will be hoping to build his team around reigning African Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen in order to get off to a winning start.


The Napoli man was directly involved in 55% of Nigeria’s goals during the qualifying campaign (10 goals, 2 assists). It’s the highest tally of goals scored in the qualifying phase of an Afcon edition since Moumouni Dagano with Burkina Faso in 2010 (12 goals).


Even at that, Super Eagles boss is upbeat about his team’s chances against a formidable National Thunder.


“To play for Nigeria is not easy, 200 million football fans want to win and we need to answer with good results on the pitch,” he told the media.


“I don’t speak about our last results, I speak about how we can improve our results. We create always and we need that balance.


“We will give our best in [Sunday’s] game. I’m not under pressure and we will do the best on the pitch.”


On the other, Equatorial Guinea are minnows. They reached the quarter finals during the last edition held in Cameroon which included a shock 1-0 defeat over Algeria and Mali respectively.


Based on stats, they can be dangerous in the second-half as only two of their 11 goals at Afcon have been scored in the first half of matches.

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