AFCON 2021: Meet Nigeria’s Group Stage Foes

Fans of Nigeria’s Super Eagles and that of African football were denied of the AFCON 2021 edition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the qualifiers were completed and dates shifted till January 2022, a deviation from the June-July schedule which was adopted few years ago, the dates for the draws were shifted before it was held on the 17th of July.

The 24 teams have been confirmed and the pairings for the January 9 to February 6 2022 tournament in Cameroon have been made. In today’s piece, we take a look at the three teams that the Super Eagles of Nigeria will face in Group D as they aim to win the tournament for the first time since 2013.

AFCON 2021: Meet Nigeria’s Group stage Foes

AFCON 2021: Meet Nigeria's Group stage Foes

Egypt
Coach: Hossam El Badry
AFCON Titles: Seven
Star Players: Mohammed Salah (Liverpool)

Seven-time Africa Cup of Nations winners will be in the same group with Nigeria as they hope to win their first title since 2010.

Since the three back to back triumphs from 2006 to 2010, the Egyptians have only managed a final appearance loss to Cote D’Ivoire in 2017. They also failed to qualify for the 2012, 2013 and 2015 editions.

The pharaohs also qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1990 although their result was not impressive in a group that had the hosts Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.

The last time Nigeria faced Egypt was in a 1-0 win in a friendly in 2019, but at the AFCON, the Super Eagles lost 3-1 to the pharaohs in the group stage of the competition in 2010.

They were also denied participation at the 2017 AFCON by the same Egyptians in the qualification series for the same competition.

With Liverpool forward Mohammed Salah leading the pack that also has Mohammed El Neny, the Super Eagles will have its hands full.

AFCON 2021: Meet Nigeria's Group stage Foes

Sudan
Coach: Hubert Velud
AFCON Titles: 1
Star Players: Mohammed Abdelrahman

Sudan may not be as strong as their West African and North African opponents but a nine-time AFCON participant will definitely have shockers up their sleeves to upset the big boys.

Their last appearance was in 2012 which ended in the quarterfinals but having pipped South Africa in a group that also had Ghana and Sao Tome en Principe in the qualification group, woe besides the team that underrates the Sudanese.

Mohammed Abdelrahman scored three goals in qualification for the Sudanese which was crucial in toppling South Africa and joining Ghana as the second team to qualify.

The game between both sides will be the first at the Africa Cup of Nations although both sides met on 2014 in the qualifiers for AFCON while both teams have met at the Championship of African Nations.

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Guinea Bissau
Coach: Baciro Cande
AFCON Titles: Nil
Star Players: Piqueti

Guinea Bissau made its first AFCON qualification in 2017 and has managed to be ever present since then, making Cameroon their third appearance at the competition.

Irrespective, the team is yet to record a win at the AFCON having played six games and recording just two draws and four losses across both competition.

However, it looks like their winless run in the competition will continue with the presence of heavyweights like Nigeria and Egypt in the group.

While their is a chance for the best third placed teams to qualify, it looks as though the Sudanese have the edge over Guinea Bissau.

During qualification, Guinea Bissau got past Congo and Eswatini to join Senegal in the tournament while Piqueti will be their inspiration after his experience in the last two Afcons.

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