The three-time Afcon kings have not conquered the continent in nine years but a former BBC African Footballer of the Year sees them go all the way in Cameroon
Former Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan has tipped Nigeria to power past all oppositions to win the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Not much was expected from the Super Eagles heading into the 33rd edition of the Afcon due to several issues, including replacing long-time coach Gernot Rohr weeks to the competition and the withdrawal of leading stars, notably among which is Napoli’s Victor Osimhen.
But the 2013 champions have been one of the most entertaining sides in Cameroon, dispatching Egypt and Sudan with relative ease while scoring four goals and conceding one.
By contrast, aside from hosts Cameroon and Morocco, several pre-tournament favourites have not matched their high ratings with performance on the pitch.
Senegal have managed just one win and one goal – a late Sadio Mane penalty against Zimbabwe. Defending champions Algeria are bottom of Group E heading into the last round of group stage matches.
Even Gyan’s Ghana have just one point from two games, and the Black Stars could be on their way home if they fail to cook up a win against lowly Comoros on Tuesday.
But the 2010 BBC African Footballer of the Year has been left impressed with the performance of Nigeria in Cameroon.
And Gyan believes the Super Eagles have shown the quality needed to emerge champions.
“As of today, Nigeria stands out as the team that has the will to conquer all opposition going by what has happened in the matches so far,” Gyan told ESPN.
“Every other potential winner of the tournament seems to be playing with too much caution, and this explains why most of the matches have not been impressive.
“But when you look at Nigeria, they showed the character of a potential champion, considering the way they dominated Egypt all through the 90 minutes.”
Nigeria won the Nations Cup in 1980, 1994, and 2013.