Can Nigeria Fulfill Expectations And Land A Fourth AFCON title In Egypt?
Published: April 29, 2019
Can Nigeria Fulfill Expectations And Land A Fourth AFCON title In Egypt?
As the curtain gradually falls on a long and tedious club football season which has thrown up its own thrills and intrigues, the CAF 2019 AFCON tournament will kick off on June 21st, of which participants Nigeria will chase a fourth title, after failing to qualify thrice in the last five years.

Since after a not-so-stellar showing at the Russia World Cup last year, the Super Eagles have bewitched everyone with their enterprising style of play, effortlessly picking up a group winner's ticket for the continental competition and have already been tipped as one of the countries to beat come June.

On paper, their first stage opponents following CAF's Group Stage draws are not expected to prove much of a difficulty: it is safe to say that failure to negotiate a group containing two tournament debutants in Burundi and Madagascar, alongside Guinea who have only managed a best result of a runner-up finish as far back as 1976 is at best, a calamitous outing.

While manager, Gernot Rohr has tried as much as he could to downplay his side's chances as favourites all in a bid to shift attention and avoid unnecessary pressure, it is as clear as daylight that Nigeria will try to make the most of the easy preliminary route they have been handed and surely aim for a decent finish in Cairo.

Buoyed by the fact that they have reached the last four of the tournament 14 times in the competition's history and only hosts Egypt with 15 has a better record of qualifying for the semifinals, their is a sense that excuses will hardly be consoled for a bad showing, and on the look of things the Super Eagles are fired up to cut it out with other illustrious opponents, South Africa remain the only continental nation to have beaten Nigeria since Rohr took over the reigns of the national team.

Egypt inspired by their talisman Mohammed Salah are expected to add to their seven honours this time around while Saido Mane and Senegal will equally try to make their case with a strong showing at the rendezvous, not forgetting other heavyweights the likes of Cote D'ivoire, Cameroon, Tunisia, Algeria to mention but a few who are most certainly going to lit up the competition.

Much optimism have continued to build in these parts after the last international break which saw the Eagles record two morale-boosting wins, a 3-1 win in a dead-rubber qualifier and a disciplined lone goal victory over Egypt, thanks to a . record-breaking effort from striker, Paul Onuachu.

And with good preparations and high-profile tune up games just before they enter the big occasion, their is every possibility that they will come out in flying colours in Egypt, with the team stars the likes of Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi, Wilfred Ndidi and Co. impressing for their foreign clubs this season.

While how Nigeria eventually perform in Egypt is still in the melting pot, punters are always assured of getting the best odds and offers from

It's going to be an interesting tournament in Egypt this summer, by and large, could the stage be set for these crop of Super Eagles to etch their names into Africa's football folklore?

Emmanuel Chinaza
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