The Super Eagles of Nigeria will have their sight fixed on sealing qualification to the Round of 16 at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations this weekend when they take on the Jediane Falcons of Sudan for their second group encounter in the tournament.
Austin Eguavoen’s men did well to take to a winning start in the competition on Tuesday, securing a famous 1-0 victory over seven-time tournament champions Egypt. The performance of the Nigerian was so impressive that one can say the lone-goal win flattered the Pharaohs as the Eagle could have (and should have) made it rain goals at the Stade Roumdé Adjia Stadium that day.
The Eagles will now hope to replicate the brilliant show when they square up to Sudan – another North African side, but who are of course lower ranked – on Saturday.The Sudanese team notably garnered just one point in the first group encounter with Guinea Bissau – a game that ended in a goalless draw.
But it won’t be out of place for the Falcons to harbour hopes of causing an upset on Saturday.
Eguavoen, coach of the Nigerian team, himself has stated he expects a strong resistance from the Sudanese, who are notably the lowest ranked team in the group (125th).
“Sudan are no pushovers as they will be motivated against us,” the Nigeria tactician admitted in the pre-match press conference on Friday.
“Every game comes with a different game plan.”
Sudan coach Burhan Tia, on his own part, confessed it will be an uphill task taking on the three-time African champions, but enthused that his team are prepared for the challenge.
“It will not be easy, as well as facing Egypt, but these are matches that we have put in our minds and our program before the tournament,” Tia said just after the drab draw with Guinea Bissau earlier in the week.
Nigeria center-back Chidozie Awaziem is a major doubt to make the squad for the Sudan game as the player has missed team training for five consecutive days with a minor injury.
Eguavoen however expects the defender to be back ‘very, very soon’ as he confirmed in Friday’s pre-match presser.
“Awaziem is still down,” the coach stated.
“He has an ankle injury as I know and he is going to be back very soon.”
All other 26 players participated in in the Friday’s training session, and will be available to play a part in Saturday’s game.
The game is scheduled to kick off by 5pm Nigerian time.