Home SPORTS GIST AFCON 2021 AFCON 2021: MATCH PREVIEW – NIGERIA VS EGYPT (KICK OFF 5PM)

AFCON 2021: MATCH PREVIEW – NIGERIA VS EGYPT (KICK OFF 5PM)

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Farouq Oduola A.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria are looking forward to their first encounter against the Pharaohs of Egypt in the opening game of the 2021 African Cup of Nations at 5pm on Tuesday.

The two giants are no strangers to each other in the business of AFCONs with both countries having quite a fixture history in the competition having had encounters in an incredible 8 times with Tuesday opening match being the 9th, only three fixtures have been played more often in the history of the tournament (Cameroon-Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire-Egypt and Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana – all 10 times).

Nigeria hold the upper hand with three wins to Egypt’s two, although their last encounter in 2010 went to the Pharaohs with a 3-1 victory in the group phase.

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Nigeria will compete in the Africa Cup of Nations for the 19th time, having reached the semi-finals 14 times and winning the tournament three times.

The North African side, on the other hand, have appeared in the competition more times than any other team, with a record 25 appearances, and have also won it seven times, the most of any team.

Nigeria are missing a number of key players in the competition,  such as Dennis Emmanuel and Abdullahi Shehu. Victor Osimhen was unlucky not to make the squad after testing positive for Covid-19 shortly after recovering from injury, and supposed replacement, Odion Ighalo, was not released.

That not withstanding, Nigeria still has some incredible players in the 28-man team, like Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Emmanuel Chukwueze, and a few others who play in top-tier leagues.

Nigeria will surely be expecting a tough match later today. Although Egypt hasn’t been playing their best football recently, they can’t be disregarded due to their unrivalled reputation and experience in the competition.

Not to mention the fact that they have a magician in the form of Mohammed Salah. Salah is without a doubt one of the top players in the world, and since his debut in the competition in 2017, he has been directly involved in 60% of Egypt’s goals in the Africa Cup of Nations (4 goals + 2 assists, out of a total of ten goals).

The Liverpool midfielder will be hoping to make a point against the Super Eagles, and, like his teammate, he will be wearing newly customised Adidas boots with his name “MO” printed on them, hoping to be inspired by the footwear.

Predicted team news

Maduka Aina Ekong Omeruo Sanusi Ejuke Ndidi Aribo Chukwueze Iheanacho Awoniyi

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