The draws for the 2023 AFCON took place on Thursday in Abidjan, and Nigeria were drawn in the same group as the hosts
The Super Eagles of Nigeria were drawn in Group A ahead of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations coming up in January next year, Soccernet reports.
The three-time African were pitched against two-time champions Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea Bissau. Meanwhile, the Nigerian football community has labelled it a ‘Group of Death’.
However, a critical look clearly shows that it is not. The only team that should give Nigeria a tough time is hosts Ivory Coast. With the support of the home crowd and their star-studded team, they will give the Super Eagles a run for their money.
Previous meetings against Ivory Coast in the AFCON have not been entirely productive. Nigeria have lost two of their last three meetings in the competition.
However, the last time both countries met, Nigeria emerged victorious, beating the Elephants 2-1 in the run-up to their 2013 AFCON victory.
When it comes to their quality on the pitch, both countries are at par. Ivory Coast have players like Sebastien Haller, Wilfred Zaha, Simon Adingra, Evan Ndicka, Ibrahim Sangare, and Frank Kessie.
However, aside from Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau are not supposed to pose any meaningful threat to Jose Peseiro. Guinea-Bissau have been good customers for Nigeria.
Both countries met at the last AFCON, and Nigeria got a comfortable 2-0 victory. It could have been worse for Djurtus but for Nigeria’s profligacy.
However, Guinea-Bissau got their pound of flesh in the AFCON qualifiers. Guinea-Bissau shocked Nigeria in Abuja. Nonetheless, the Super Eagles defeated them in the second leg in Bissau.
Obviously, it will not be an easy tie, but with both teams’ history and quality, Nigeria are head and shoulders above Guinea-Bissau.
Meanwhile, Equatorial Guinea also do not have the quality to defeat three-time African champions Nigeria. Aside from lacking the quality to do it, they have succumbed to losses in their previous two meetings.
It is clear that the only country that should give Nigeria serious problems is Ivory Coast. And as such, Group A isn’t the group of death.
However, this is all paper talk, as the Super Eagles have not exactly inspired much confidence despite the abundance of quality. In Africa, most of the minos have improved over the years, and they could still pose a significant threat to the Super Eagles if they fail to do their homework.