Connect with us

News

AFCON 2019: Profiling Nigeria’s AFCON Opponents

Published

on

Six years after their last triumph and subsequently, their last appearance, the Super Eagles made a return to Africa’s biggest football showpiece. On Friday 12th of April, CAF made the groupings for the 2019 edition which will be held in Egypt from June to July, with a couple of changes made to the championship which the West African nation having won the covetous tournament three times.

Not only has the natural date for the tournament changed from January-February to June-July to avoid club/country clashes but also the number of participating teams have increased from 16 to 24 with Mauritania, Burundi and Madagascar making their first appearance.

Also, there is a return for the likes of Benin, Kenya, Namibia and Tanzania after a long term absence of 9, 15, 11 and 30 years respectively.

The draw which took place on Friday 12th of April 2019, at an arena facing the Sphinx and the Pyramids in Giza, Egypt saw the Super Eagles get two of the tournament’s debutants in an easy draw. Here we take a look at Nigeria’s group B opponents.

Guinea

Appearance: 12th

Last Appearance: 2015

Best Performance: 1975 Runner-up

Nickname: Syli Nationale

Players To Watch Out For: Ibrahima cissé (Fulham), Naby Keita(Liverpool) & Amadou Diawara (Napoli)

Coach: Paul Put

The West African country is making its 12th appearance at the AFCON having last appeared in 2015. Apart from the 2nd place finish back in 1975, The Syli Nationals have appeared in the quarterfinals four times 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2015.

For the 2019 AFCON, the team qualified from a group which had Central African Republic, Ivory Coast and Rwanda picking 12 points from possible 18. Failing to lose any of their 6 qualifying games to book the top spot in their group.

On paper, they look like the only team who should give Nigeria problems and probably qualify alongside the favourites in the group. Head to Head the Guineas have played Nigeria 17 time across all levels and have both shared 5 wins each with 7 draws.

It’s a statistics that shows that Nigeria has never had it rosy against The National Elephants and the last time both teams met in 2011, they ensured that Nigeria missed out on the 2012 AFCON with a 2-2 draw in Abuja

With Liverpool’s Naby Keita, expected to lead the team, they are not of the quality to upset the Nigerians

Burundi

Appearance: Debut

Last Appearance: None

Best Performance: None

Nickname: The Swallows 

Players To Watch Out For: Saido Berahino(Stoke City), Gael Bigirimana (Hibernian) & F. Abdul Razak (JS Kabylie)

Coach: Olivier Niyungeko

One of the three debutants in the expanded format, Burundi can be classified as minnows on the African football scene but they have recently shown that perhaps there is a steady of football in the country.

In 2014, The Swallows qualified for the CHAN, while their U20 male team made it to the group stages of that CAF U20 tournament earlier this year, in 2018 their female counterparts failed at the final stage to qualify for the FIFA women’s U20 World cup in France losing to Ghana in the last qualifying round.

Burundi made it out of a group that had Gabon, South Sudan and Mali with 2 wins and 4 draws also qualifying unbeaten, although they placed second Mali who finished atop the group.

Although many may not know of the team’s strength and weaknesses, they, however, possess their own fair share of quality players who can get the win if the big teams do not come to the party.

Players like former England youth international and Stoke City’s Saido Berahino, Fiston Abdul Razak who has 17 goals in 35 National team caps as well as young defender Christoph Nduwarugira can pop up with crucial goals. However, with Madagascar also in the group, it is hard to see Burundi qualify for R16 even as one of the best third-placed teams.

Madagascar

Appearance: Debut

Last Appearance: None

Best Performance: None

Players To Watch Out For: A. Andrianantenaina (Ludogorets), F, Ramanamahefa (La Flèche RC)

Nickname: The Islanders

Coach: Nicolas Dupuis

What easier draw can Nigerian football fans ask for, other than have two debutants in the group. With Madagascar drawn in group B, the Super Eagles will face two newcomers in the group stages.

Unlike Burundi, Madagascar took the hard route starting the qualifiers from the preliminary stages beating Sao Tome & Principe 4-2 on aggregate. In the final qualifying stages they were drawn in group A with Senegal, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea winning 3 games losing 2 and drawing the other.

Scoring as much as they conceded (8goals) The Islanders qualified alongside Senegal with a game to spare, parading a host of players plying their trade in France and it’s lower leagues,they have been penned as potential dark horses, more so with the current CAF president from Malagasy it’s left to be seen how much motivation the team will drive from that into their maiden Afcon Campaign.

Conclusion

All things being equal, the Super Eagles are expected to top the group with Guinea following closely behind but with Madagascar’s impressive qualifying campaign they may likely beat Guinea to the second spot but in any case, they look best as one of the best third-placed teams to go through to the next round. Burundi is least likely to pull an upset but can at best take the third place off Madagascar if they are to make any point at this tournament.

 

 

 

 

(Visited 271 times, 1 visits today)

Daniel is a passionate lover of Nigerian football. Follows local football and the national teams religiously. Aside from writing, he also does Sports analysis on Radio. Write to me on danycrusoe@gmail.com or follow me on twitter@danycrusoe95

Advertisement
Advertisement

TRANSFER NEWS

Europe3 days ago

Philippe Coutinho Costing Bayern Munich £563,000 A Game

Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho is costing Bayern Munich a mouth-watering £563,000 a game, as indicated by a report. As reported...

Europe1 month ago

Official: CD Leganes Secure The Services Of Success Makanjuola

La Liga side, CD Leganes, have officially secure the services of Success Makanjuola, the Flying Eagles star who completed a...

Europe1 month ago

Karim Adeyemi, Barcelona’s Top Priority Transfer Target

La Liga champion FC Barcelona are ready to splash out €8m for Salburg youngster Karim Adeyemi to continue with their...

La Liga2 months ago

I Don’t Know If Barcelona Did Everything Possible To Ensure Neymar’s return – Messi

With Neymar‘s potential transfer to Barcelona dominating the summer headlines, captain Lionel Messi feels the club could have done a little more to bring the...

Europe3 months ago

Official: Nigeria U20 Midfielder Nnamdi Oforborh Joins Wycombe Wanderers

Nigeria U20 midfielder Nnamdi Ofoborh has joined English League One side Wycombe Wanderers on a season-long loan from Bournemouth. The...

La Liga3 months ago

Official: Nacho Monreal Completes £225,000 Real Sociedad Move On A Two-year Deal

Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal has completed his move from Emirates to Real Sociedad to end a six-and-a-half-year spell with the...

Europe3 months ago

Neymar Comeback: Rakitic Agrees, Dembele Not Comfortable Becoming A Bargaining Chip

Ousmane Dembele could be the final part of a long transfer adventure that is meant to bring Neymar back to...

Europe4 months ago

Official: Arsenal Secure The Signing Of Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Nicolas Pepe from Lille for a reported fee of £72million. The lanky winger becomes...

Europe4 months ago

Official: PSG Secure The Service Of Idrissa Gueye For A Reported Fee Of £25m

​Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain have completed the signing of midfielder Idrissa Gueye from Everton for an undisclosed fee, thought to...

Bundesliga4 months ago

Official : RB Liepzig Have Completed A €20m Deal For Ademola Lookman

Bundesliga side, RB Leipzig, have  completed a €20m deal for Ademola Lookman on a permanent basis from Premier League side,...

Trending

Powered by Live Score & Live Score App
Loading...
%d bloggers like this: