There is mutual respect between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Pharaohs of Egypt since their three previous encounters have been settled by the odd goal. However, no-one wants to start a competition by losing.
Despite the Egyptians’ preparations for Cameroon 2021 having been boosted by the Arab Cup, the Eagles’ team were not complete till January 7, the first time interim manager Augustine Eguavoen has had almost his entire squad on hand putting them at a disadvantage.
Egypt has been Nigeria’s group opponents in two of their three AFCON titles; the 1980 and 1994 editions. Nigeria and Egypt have met 18 times since 1960, with the Eagles having won eight games and lost five. In 1980, the Eagles won 1-0 and in 1994, they were held goalless.
Last three head-to-head
26/03/19 FRI Nigeria 1 – 0 Egypt
29/03/16 ACO Egypt 1 – 0 Nigeria
25/03/16 ACO Nigeria 1 – 1 Egypt
Face-offs to watch out for
Zaidu Sanusi v Mohamed Salah
The left-back position is expected to be filled by Sanusi since Jamilu Collins arrived later than expected and having to deal with the pace and trickery of Mohamed Salah might be laborious.
Even though Sanusi is quick, he is often distracted in one-on-one duels, which means he can be caught napping if lofted balls are played to him. Salah is in good scoring form and has become more skilled at creating goal opportunities from wide areas.
Chidera Ejuke v Mohamed Elneny
In training, Ejuke has played a No.10 role for the Eagles and is expected to start against a technical Egyptian team anchored by Elneny.
In spite of his excellent dribbling skills, Ejuke must be more precise with the ball if he is to beat Elneny, who is a tenacious tackler.
Taiwo Awoniyi v Ahmed Hegazy
As always, this will be an extremely physical clash. Awoniyi has improved in leaps and bounds this season and is physically strong enough to hold his own, but Hegazy is an experienced campaigner who will get his 65th cap against Nigeria.
It is imperative that the former U-17 World Cup winner strikes his first goal for the Eagles to stamp his ascent to No.9.
Augustine Eguavoen, Nigeria Manager however believes, “The organization is excellent, and I thank Cameroon for that. We have no worries. We respect Egypt, but Nigeria is a great team, and we didn’t come here to lose.
“I’m not looking for personal glory, but the most important thing I’m looking for is an achievement for Nigeria.
While Carlos Queiroz, Egypt Manager says the team is ready to face the Eagles, “We are ready and eagerly waiting for the start of the journey. Everyone is ready to give their best. We will face a team that has many great players, but we are ready and we will face them with full force.”
The match kicks off at 5 p.m.