The Super Eagles of Nigeria faced an early setback with a disappointing draw in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations opener against Equatorial Guinea on Sunday afternoon, as reported by Soccernet.ng.
In the 36th minute, a well-executed pass from Jose Machine set up Iban Salvador to take the lead for Equatorial Guinea. However, Napoli forward Victor Osimhen quickly equalised, giving the Nigerian fans something to cheer for.
But, the game’s end result, which ended in a 1-1 draw, left the Nigerian fans pondering the team’s recent struggles to secure victories.
Now, concerns have been growing within the Nigerian football community about the team’s performance and their inability to clinch wins.
While some question the capabilities of Portuguese tactician Jose Machine, others acknowledge that he made strategic choices in the lineup against Equatorial Guinea.
The decision to start Stanley Nwabali instead of Francis Uzoho, reintroducing William Troost-Ekong alongside Semi Ajayi, and providing Alhassan Yusuf with his debut (before he got injured) were noteworthy decisions that held Equatorial Guinea at bay.
Despite creating ample scoring opportunities, the Nigerian squad, true to its recent form, failed to convert them into goals.
In their opening AFCON clash, Nigeria made 15 goal attempts and six shots on goal, but none were sufficient to secure a victory.
Notably, the Super Eagles have struggled to deliver a win in their last four games, including two draws in the 2026 World Cup qualifications, a loss to Guinea in a preparatory match before the AFCON, and now a draw in their AFCON opening encounter.
Acknowledging the efforts of the former Sporting CP manager in assembling a strong lineup, this highlights the wastefulness of the Nigerian squad in capitalising on their scoring opportunities.
Looking ahead, the Super Eagles are set to face the 2023 AFCON host, Ivory Coast, currently leading Group A after defeating Guinea-Bissau in their opening match.
The upcoming clash presents an opportunity for Nigeria to rebound and secure a crucial victory, but it is labelled a ‘difficult game’ for Nigeria.