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2021 Africa Cup of Nations

Nigeria Out To Humble Egypt

Nigeria will clash with Egypt in their maiden 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group D match on Tuesday.

Kick-off is at 16h00 GMT.

The match is scheduled to take place at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Cameroonian city of Garoua.

Nigeria come to the 2021 AFCON looking to end their long wait for a fourth African crown, having last lifted the trophy back in 2013. They came so close in Egypt two years ago, but ultimately succumbed to Algeria in the semi-finals.

The Super Eagles will ensure that they go all out and bag a win to ensure they stand a good chance to reach the next round.

Augustine Eguavoen, who is Super Eagles care-taker coach, said that he is under pressure to deliver but added the caveat that he is also relaxed because of the attitude of the players to training.

“First game is very crucial to any team, it will give you a lot of encouragement, going into the tournament proper. I will say a little bit but I’m more relaxed now than two weeks or a week ago,” the former Super Eagles international said.

Nigeria are ranked are fifth in Africa and 36th in the world while their opponents  are rated as the sixth-best team on the continent and 37th best football playing country globally.

The West Africans have many players to watch led by Ahmed Musa who heads into the tournament as the Eagle’s most capped player (102 caps) and also winning the AFCON in 2013.

Shifting focus to the Pharaohs of Egypt, they are seen as favourites to bag the continental crown, but it will not come easy.

The North Africans have won a record seven titles, including a hat-trick from their last four showings in the tournament (2006, 2008 and 2010).

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz flew into Cameroon with a lean squad which witnessed some surprises, mainly the exclusion of Zamalek midfielder Tarek Hamed and Al Ahly’s Mohamed Magdy Afsha.

“I believe that these 25 players will be able to build a strong and cohesive team that plays good football and is able to win and fight for it and has a strong mentality,” said Egypt’s Portuguese coach.

“This tournament is very strong. We need players who are ready to perform whenever we need them.”

Liverpool star Mohammed Salah, who is the captain of the Pharaohs, is expected to inspire Egypt to greater heights at the tournament. Many will hope his pace can cause havoc against a Nigeria defence not renowned for mobility.

The Pharaohs have an impressive record at the group stages of  AFCON as they are unbeaten in last 16 games. Their last defeat in the group phase dates back to the 2004 tournament where they lost 2-1 in the hands of Algeria.

This will be the ninth encounter between Nigeria and Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, with only three fixtures have been played more often in the history of the tournament.

Nigeria hold the upper hand with three wins to Egypt’s two, although their last encounter in 2010 went to the Pharaohs.

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