Home Sport Afcon: Nigeria’s star-studded Super Eagles tipped as favourites

Afcon: Nigeria’s star-studded Super Eagles tipped as favourites

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As fate would have it, having last lifted that title in South Africa, this time Nigeria will have to go through a Bafana Bafana outfit in desperate need of a crowning themselves.

Victor James Osimhen of Nigeria celebrates victory during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final match against Angola at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan, Cote dIvoire on 2 February 2024. Picture: Weam Mostafa, BackpagePix

A Super Eagles outfit littered with global stars has emerged as the favourites to end their decade-long Africa Cup of Nations drought.

CAF footballer of the year Victor Osimhen and co have been entrusted with repeating the heroics of Sunday Mba, who scored the winning goal in the 2013 final against Burkina Faso.

As fate would have it, having last lifted that title in South Africa, this time Nigeria will have to go through a Bafana Bafana outfit in desperate need of a crowning themselves.

With the likes of defending champions Senegal, Morocco, Egypt and Algeria already eliminated, Nigeria are expected to add a fourth Afcon title to their name. Nigeria head into this match as the favourites having won four of their five matches in the competition, their one slump being a draw on the opening day of the tournament.

Stanley Nwabili, who plays for Chippa United in South Africa, has also registered four clean sheets in his five starts in Ivory Coast, with a single goal hitting the back of his net so far.

Nigeria head coach Jose Peisero will want his side to continue the nation’s dominance of their South African counterparts. The west African nation has won seven matches, drawn five and lost just two against South Africa and claimed victory the last time these two teams met in the Afcon in 2019.

If Nigeria beat Bafana, they will face champions Ivory Coast or Democratic Republic of Congo in the final.

At the core of the Nigerian national team’s journey so far has been the exquisite organisation and desire to not lose football matches.

English Premier League duo Frank Onyeka (Brentford) and Alex Iwobi (Fulham) have played all five of Nigeria’s games, providing a strong midfield foundation for the attackers.

The likes of Osimhen, Ademola Lookman (three goals and one assist) and Moses Simon (one assist) have expressed themselves fully, which raises the expectations of possible Afcon glory for Nigeria.

Smiso Msomi

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