The two former champions do battle in Garoua today, Tuesday, January 11, in what promises to be an entertaining affair between two attacking teams
Interim Nigerian national team coach Augustine Eguavoen says he expects Egypt to present a formidable opposition when the Pharaohs clash with the Eagles in Group D’s opening match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations today.
Defending champions Algeria and Africa’s number one ranked team Senegal are the clear favourites to power to the Afcon title come February 6.
But seven-time winners Egypt and three-time Afcon kings Nigeria are some of the continent’s biggest heavyweights with an outside chance of emerging as the tournament’s best.
The two teams, like many others in Cameroon, have had less than ideal preparations for the Afcon, but that will matter little when they take to the pitch of the Roumdé Adjia Stadium in Garoua later today.
Captained by Liverpool’s talismanic forward Mohamed Salah and led by former Manchester United and Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz, the Pharaohs are the bookmaker’s slight favourite to triumph over the Super Eagles.
Nigeria coach Eguavoen recognises the strength of the Egyptians, but he is confident that the Super Eagles can fashion a way to pick the maximum points at stake.
“I look forward to an interesting game between two ambitious teams,” the 1994 Afcon winner told NFF’s official website.
“As I said a couple of weeks ago, we will take it one match at a time. For now, we see the clash with Egypt, and all our plan is how to earn the three points.
“The Egyptians are a strong team and will come with a lot of confidence and steam, but we will also be going to the field with a lot of confidence and steam. It is going to be an interesting evening.”
According to the record books, Nigeria and Egypt have met 18 times across all competitions. The Eagles have the superior head-to-head advantage, though, winning eight matches, drawing five, and losing the other five.
But the West Africans’ last victory over the Pharaohs at the Afcon came over three decades ago in a 1-0 win at Algiers ’90.