A new champion will be crowned at the continental championship this year following the elimination of title holders Senegal
The quest for the new champions of the continent continues as the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations enters the quarterfinal stage, Soccernet.ng reports.
Nigeria will trade tackles with Angola in one of the most-anticipated last-8 clashes at the tournament in Cote d’Ivoire.
While Nigeria will be the favourites to make it to the semifinals of the AFCON, the Angolans will not be pushovers.
The Pelancas Negras are on a run of three consecutive victories at the AFCON, their best winning streak in the tournament ever.
With the tournament witnessing established African powerhouses falter against lower-ranked opponents, Nigeria must tread cautiously to avoid a potential upset.
To unravel the ideal tactical roadmap, 1985 FIFA U17 World Cup winner Nduka Ugbade has offered strategic insights.
“We have to move the ball as fast as we can, we must to move the ball at the top of the can,” Ugbade told Brila FM. “Then our mental speed must be very high on the advance. In the midfield, we’ve been compact.”
“If we are defending, we defend in mass. We attack with few men. So that once we score them first, they are forced to come out.
“We have to defend very strong and do not allow these guys to counter. Senegal is the father of them all. If Senegal can be beaten and scored against, automatically, we can beat Angola.”
Angola’s impressive tactical set-up both defensively and offensively at AFCON is acknowledged by Ugbade, who urges Nigeria to devise ways to counter their strengths while capitalising on weaknesses.
“They will mark,” added Ugbade, who was the assistant coach when Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets won the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the UAE.
“They have a lot of pressure, they have tremendous defensive pressure. I saw it in two or three matches that they played. They are very resilient, they are always marking.
“Once you lose the ball, they go on the offensive, no going back. Because that is what they want. They defend in their own box with more men.
“Set pieces and corners must be forced upon them so that inside the 18 we are contesting for all the balls, we must contest for all the balls.”
“We can score all the goals; if we score two and they score three against us, then we are out of the competition.
“So the issue here is that strategically, we must plan technically, we must execute what we have as our strategy then we get them done to make sure they are dumped out of the competition for us to move to the next stage.”
Angola are bidding to reach the semifinal of the AFCON for the first time in history, a stage Nigeria have appeared in 15 of the 19 times they have qualified for the tournament.