The Super Eagles must negotiate their way against Palancras Negras to reach the last four of the African football showpiece
Nigeria go neck-to-neck with Angola in Friday’s quarter-final of the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
After a slow start against Equatorial Guinea, Jose Peseiro’s men have grown in leaps and bounds – beating pre-tournament favourites Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon to reach the last eight.
Nevertheless, they must beat the Palancras Negras to brighten their chances of ruling Africa for the fourth time in history.
How will the quarter-final between the Super Eagles and Palancas Negras end?#AFCON2023
— Shina Oludare 🇳🇬 (@sportingshina) February 1, 2024
On the other hand, Pedro Goncalves’s men have proven to be one of the surprise packages of Cote d’Ivoire 2023. They went unbeaten during the group phase to top a group that boasts Burkina Faso and 2019 African kings Algeria.
In the Round of 16, they overpowered Namibia 3-0 with Jacinto Dala netting a first-half brace to set up a date with the West Africans. Although a semi-ticket is the bone of contention, regardless, football lovers are expected to witness the best of African football.
Game Nigeria vs Angola
Date Friday, February 2
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
For Soccernet.ng readers in Nigeria, they can watch that showdown on SuperSports, NTA and Afro Sports.
Squads & Team News
Angola will be missing the services on goalkeeper Neblu wen his team squares up against the Super Eagles.
The 30-year-old was given the marching orders during his side’s 3-0 demolition of Namibia in the Round of 16.
In his absence, coach Goncalves could start Antonio Dominique in goal.
Angola squad: Adilson Da Cruz “Neblu”, Aldo Monteiro “Kadu”, Antonio Dominique, Joaquim Balanga “Kinito”, Augusto Carneiro “To”, Eddie Afonso, Jonathan Buatu, Nurio Furtuna, Kialonda Gaspar, Loide Augusto, Alfredo Ribeiro “Fredy” Bruno Paz, Benedito Mukendi “Beni”, Manuel Show, Keliano Manuel, Valdomiro Lameira “Estrela”, Cristovao Paciencia “Mabululu”, Ambrozini Salvador “Zine”,Felicio Joao “Milson”,Jacinto Dala “Gelson”, Jérémie Bela,M’Bala Nzola, Zito Luvumbo
Nigeria have been handed a massive boost after goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali was declared fit to feature against Angola.
The South Africa based footballer was subbed off injured in the Super Eagles’ 2-0 triumph over Cameroon – prompting claims that Francis Uzoho could be in goal on Friday.
So far, Nwabali has conceded once in all four matches played and if his performance so far in Cote d’Ivoire is anything to go by, he is among the players who shoulders Super Eagles’ title aspirations.
Although expected to be in action are William Troost-Ekong as well as Napoli based striker Victor Osimhen.
Nigeria squad: Olorunleke Ojo, Stanley Nwabali, Francis Uzoho, Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong, Semi Ajayi, Chidozie Awaziem, Calvin Bassey, Bruno Onyemaechi, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Ola Aina, Zaidu Sanusi, Alhassan Yusuf, Raphael Onyedika, Joe Aribo, Frank Onyeka, Moses Simon, Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi, Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, Terem Moffi, Ademola Lookman, Umar Sadiq.
Angola will be aiming to continue their magical run against one of the tournament’s favorite, Super Eagles.
The Palancras Negras are unbeaten in Cote d’ivoire and victory over the Super Eagles would see them reach the semi-final for the very first time.
According to coach Pedro Goncalves, the Nigerians are a solid team, nevertheless, they are keen on proving their wort.
“This match means a lot for our team and for the entire Angolan nation, which has dreamed for years of seeing the team at this stage of the competition. We will face Nigeria, a great nation in African football,” he told the media.
“This match is an opportunity to show our worth; we have worked and given our all to reach this level of the competition. I congratulate my team, which has always been dedicated. The match is an opportunity to show that we have evolved.
“We respect Nigeria for what they have demonstrated so far in African football. Currently, Nigeria has a very strong team with players who play in major European leagues, such as the Premier League and Serie A… They use the best playing system to compete in this Africa Cup of Nations.”
Angola’s last victory against Nigeria was a World Cup qualifier in June 2004, which ended 1-0 thanks to the winning goal by Angola’s all-time top goalscorer Akwa.
Nigeria are playing in their 11th quarter-final match at the Africa Cup of Nations – no team has ever played in more games at this stage of the competition (Ghana, Ivory Coast and Tunisia also 11).
Alex Iwobi knows his team cannot afford to falter when it matters the most having scaled Cameroon hurdles.
The former Arsenal man said: “We watched the videos. It will be a tough match. They won the last match with a large score, and we also defend well. We will give everything on the field to reach the semi-finals.
“We have to respect Angola a lot. If they are at this stage of the competition, it means they are a great team. We need the entire team to defend. It won’t be easy because it’s a team that scores a lot. I rely on my teammates to meet the challenge.”
It is interesting to note that this fixture will be the first-ever encounter between Nigeria and Angola at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations.