The quarter-final of the AFCON 2023 tournament in Ivory Coast officially kicks off tomorrow with the Super Eagles of Nigeria taking on the Palancas Negras of Angola.
The Super Eagles are chuck full of confidence off the back of a 2-0 win over the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. Soccernet.ng looks into five Nigerian players that can be relied upon to deliver the goods for the giants of Africa in their quarter-final clash tomorrow.
1. Victor Osimhen
The Napoli man has come up with just a goal all tournament, but his bullish runs and press seem to be underrated. His ability to keep running at an intense level for ninety minutes will be something for the Super Eagles to capitalize on in their clash against Angola.
2. Ademola Lookman
The Atalanta forward made all the difference for Jose Peseiro’s men against Cameroon. His two goals were a definition of being in the right place at the right time and his ability to always take on the opposition defenders despite his size shows his resilience. He has been an outlet for three goals in Ivory Coast and will be instrumental should the Super Eagles defeat Angola.
3. Calvin Bassey
Just like Ola Aina, Bassey’s versatility has made him unpredictable. He clears the ball from danger at the back as a central defender and creates chances as a left-back and as a left-wing back. Bassey’s strength, alongside his late runs in behind from defence, will be important to exploit Angola who have conceded three goals in four games in Ivory Coast.
4. Frank Onyeka
The Brentford man has been breaking up attacks all tournament, keeping his back three in safe hands, picking up just one yellow card. His partnership with Iwobi, albeit unconventional, has kept the Super Eagles in the tournament so far and he will need to be at his best to pass tomorrow’s test.
5. Ola Aina
The Nottingham Forest full-back has been the biggest revelation for Nigeria so far in Ivory Coast. He has featured on both sides of defence, winning his duels and helping out in attack with his crosses. His flair and trickery have been something to behold and will be on his toes to help Nigeria get to the next round.