The Super Eagles of Nigeria will start their Africa Cup of Nations at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan against the National Thunder of Equatorial Guinea on Sunday, January 15, 2024.
Proud to the African Cup of Nations, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have been performing poorly lately since failing to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar where they were eliminated by the Black Stars of Ghana in the first round of qualifiers.
On the other hand, the National Thunder of Equatorial Guinea are unbeaten in the last ten games. Due to the uninspiring performance of Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea is tipped to qualify for the knockout ahead of Nigeria alongside the host Ivory Coast who humbled Guinea Bissau on opening day courtesy of Seko Fofana and Krasso’s goal on opening day.
However, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have an impressive record in the group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations. In 2022, the Super Eagles of Nigeria accumulated nine points out of nine available in the group stages but were eliminated in the quarter-finals by the Eagles of Carthage of Tunisia.
For Equatorial Guinea, it will be their fourth appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations and the best performance was in 2015 when they hosted it. They finished second in their group and went all the way to the semi-finals and got eliminated by the Black Stars of Ghana who finished second to Ivory Coast on penalty shootouts.
Sadly, the Super Eagles of Nigeria were handed a shock with the injury of midfielder Winfred Ndidi and also Bayern 04 Leverkusen’s top scorer Victor Boniface. Victor Boniface sustained the injury against Guinea in their pre-tournament friendly which they lost by two goals to nil. Real Sociedad forward Umar Sadiq also picked a knock at training grounds and was withdrawn from the squad. However, Alhassan Yussuf, Terem Moffi, and Paul Onuachu were called to replace them respectively.
Coach Jose Peseiro is expected to start the game with his usual 4-4-2 formation against the National Thunder of Equatorial Guinea. Francis Uzoho will start in post for the Super Eagles and will be shielded in defense by Calvin Bassey, Bright Osayi Samuel, Semi Ajayi, and Bruno Onyemaechi will complete the back four.
Samuel Chukwueze, Alex Awobi, Frank Onyeka, and Moses Simon are also tipped to have the starting breath in the midfield. In attack, the African Best Player Victor Osimhen will start and will be supported by Ademola Lookman.
For Equatorial Guinea, Juan Micha is likely to also line up a 4-4-2 formation. First-choice goalkeeper Jesus Lazaro Owono will start in post for Equatorial Guinea. Basilio Ndong Oworo, Carlos Akapo Martinez, Saul Basilio Coco, and Mavin Jose Aniebo are expected to start in defense while Federico Bikoro, Jose Miranda Boacho, Pablo Ganet Cimentre, and Salvado Edu Iban will start in midfield. Dorain and Nsue will be the two men up front to strike the thunder on Nigeria for the National Thunder of Equatorial Guinea.
The match will kick off at 13:00 GMT and will be live on DS TV, StarTimes, Gtv and Gtv Sports+