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Africa Cup of Nations

GOAL take your predictions ahead of Nigeria vs Egypt

14:36 EAT 11/01/2022
Nigeria fans
GOAL’s Ed Dove took predictions and prognostics from Super Eagles supporters ahead of their Group D Afcon opener

GOAL Africa opened the floor to Super Eagles and Pharaohs fans alike on Monday evening, as we opened the floor for Nigeria fans to give their predictions and prognostics ahead of Tuesday’s Africa Cup of Nations showdown.

The West African giants begin their Afcon campaign with a heavyweight clash with Mohamed Salah and co. in Garoua, where they’ll be desperate to put a troubled build-up to the tournament behind them and assert themselves as contenders for the title.

While every team present at the Nations Cup has had to deal with adverse conditions during their preparation, few have been as muddled as Nigeria, who even parted ways with head coach Gernot Rohr on the eve of the tournament.

He was duly replaced by Jose Peseiro, although in a decision that has baffled supporters, the incoming coach will only be an overseer at the Nations Cup, with Augustine Eguavoen instead taking the reins during the tournament.

It’s an unhappy arrangement for many supporters, while a swathe of absentees—some of which the NFF must take the blame for—also affecting the build-up and potentially undermining Nigeria’s chances at the biennial showpiece.

The names of absentees roll off the tongue; any one of Victor Osimhen, Odion Ighalo, Paul Onauchu, Terem Moffi, Emmanuel Dennis would be a star man for half a dozen of the teams at the Nations Cup, yet none will be present for the Eagles in Cameroon.

In Monday’s GOAL Africa live session, we talked previews for the game, and also looked at which players could potentially step into the breach and replace the goal threat lost with the absentees.

Taiwo Awoniyi is being hailed as the most likely contender to come in and lead the line for the Super Eagles, but he’s short of international experience.

Similarly, while the forward is enjoying a fine season in the Bundesliga—he’s scored nine goals—this season appears to be an anomaly (so far) on the back of several barren campaigns.

Kelechi Iheanacho, a player who is often more effective in a supporting role, is another option, but can the Leicester City man rediscover the fine goalscoring form he demonstrated during the first half of 2021?

It’s a big ask, particularly against an Egypt backline that could be among the most formidable of the tournament.