The Super Eagles of Nigeria will kick off their AFCON 2021 campaign with a true test of preparedness against a formidable Egyptian side. It is the first game of Group D, and will kick off at 5pm WAT on Tuesday January 11 live from the Estadio Roumde Adjia in Garoua, Cameroon.
Both teams enjoyed a fairly comfortable Africa Cup of Nations qualification, and will hope to make a statement win on Matchday One of the tournament.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles are three-time AFCON Champions while their Egyptian opponent have lifted the trophy an impressive seven times. The North African side's impressive tally makes them the most successful team in the tournament's history.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Pharaohs of Egypt have faced off five times in competitive games. The Egyptians won three games, Nigeria won one and they once played out a draw.
Nigeria’s only win against Egypt came in their most recent matchup. The Super Eagles won by a single Paul Onuachu goal to nil in a March 2019 international friendly.
If history is anything to go by, it clearly favours the Egyptians, however Nigeria are on a slightly better run of form.
Players to Watch
A highly competitive fixture is on the cards for both teams who boast of stars playing across the globe.
Nigeria lose out on in-form Watford FC striker Emmanuel Dennis, and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, but have senior players like Leicester City duo Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho available.
There’s also an array of pacy wingers in Chidera Ejuke and Samuel Chukwueze who will fancy their chances against the Egyptian backline.
The Pharaohs themselves have players who would cause problems for the Super Eagles defence. Star player, Mohammed Salah is currently in the form of his life.
Salah will be joined by Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny and Aston Villa’s Mahmoud Hassan Trezeguet. They will all be expected to lead the charge as Egypt battle to claim a record eight African title.
The game looks delicately poised with two African footballing powerhouses deadlocked and looking to claim a win and the bragging rights.
Victory for either side will send a statement of intent to every other team at the Africa Cup of Nations. The match is also fairly important for knockout round draws, as the second placed team in the group faces the winner of Group E (which has Algeria, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Equitorial Guinea) in the Round of 16.
Both sides are considered amongst the pre-tournament favourites and will be hoping to start in the best possible manner..
One thing we are sure of though, is that it will be a highly contested battle, and an entertaining fixture.
What is your match prediction ? Leave a comment or reaction below.
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