Both sides have not met at the senior level.
When the Super Eagles take on debutants Guinea-Bissau in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) match on Wednesday, they will be aiming to make it three wins from three games.
A reshuffling of the three-time African champions coaching staff just weeks to the start of the competition had threatened to mar the country’s outing.
But the Austine Eguavoen-revitalised team have raked in six points from their first two matches after some commanding performances. The victories – first against record-holders, Egypt, and later on, Sudan – have earned the Eagles rave reviews with many tipping them for the trophy.
While their eyes are on the title, the Nigerian side — who have booked a spot in the round of 16 – have one goal as they take on fellow West Africans in Garoua: and that is win and have a 100 percent record.
This is the first time Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau will be meeting at senior level and despite having a superior quality; Coach Eguavoen has warned his men not to be complacent.
According to him, the Super Eagles are not carried away by their impressive showing so far and will take each match as they come.
“We will continue to work. We respect our opponents and will continue on the same path. We must improve and take advantage of opportunities and score more goals,” he said in a pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
A win on Wednesday will also stretch the former defender’s record of being the only coach to have led Nigeria to win all group games at the AFCON. He achieved that feat in 2006 as the Eagles defeated Ghana 1-0, Zimbabwe 2-0, and Senegal 2-1.
Nigeria: Team News And Key Men
(Top L-R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, defender Kenneth Omeruo, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, forward Taiwo Awoniyi, midfielder Joe Aribo, defender William Troost-Ekong, (bottom L-R) forward Kelechi Iheanacho, defender Ola Aina, defender Zaidu Sanusi, forward Samuel Chukwueze, and forward Moses Simon pose prior to the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Sudan at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 15, 2022. Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP
Although the same team started the last games, the match against Guinea-Bissau will be a perfect opportunity for some players to have a taste of the AFCON action.
“There will be changes in the squad, but we will not underestimate the match. All the players here are able to participate and represent Nigeria strongly,” the Nigerian coach added.
That means the likes of Chidera Ejuke, Alex Iwobi, and Kelechi Nwakali may start the game.
Defender Chidozie Awaziem may be in the running to start the match after he missed the two earlier ties. Captain Ahmed Musa could also be in the starting lineup just as Sodiq Umar might lead the line against the Wild Dogs.
Simon Moses, who has had an impressive tournament so far is also available for selection.
(Top L-R) Guinea-Bissau’s forward Steve Ambri, defender Fali Cande, midfielder Bura, defender Sori Mane, defender Opa Sangate, goalkeeper Jonas Mendes, (bottom L-R) forward Jefferson Encada, midfielder Moreto Cassama, midfielder Mama Balde, forward Piqueti, and midfielder Panutche Camara pose prior to the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Guinea-Bissau and Egypt at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 15, 2022.
Daniel BELOUMOU OLOMO / AFP
For Nigeria’s opponent, Wednesday’s clash is the only glimmer of hope for a round of 16 berth.
The Djurtus, ranked 106 globally and 24th in Africa, have been unlucky in their first two matches. They are bottom of Group D standing with one point having drawn and lost one match.
If they defeat the Super Eagles and make it to the next stage, that will be their first time qualifying for the knockout phase of the competition in their third appearance.
But Coach Baciro Cande knows this would not be an easy task for his men.
“The match will be difficult, but it is important to get three points if we are to continue competing,” the Guinea-Bissau coach told a pre-match press conference.
“We know Nigeria are a strong team, but we are well prepared, and we will play to win.”
Guinea-Bissau Key Men
While they have never won a game at the continent’s premier soccer competition, in Jorginho, the country’s top scorer during the qualification race with two goals, Guinea-Bissau will look to stun the three-time AFCON title-holders. Jonas Mendes is also back after recovering from COVID-19. Maurice Gomis, and Joseph Mendes, are, however still in isolation.
Guinea-Bissau Vs Nigeria: Head To Head
At the senior level, Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau have never met. The Super Eagles come into the game in a rich vein of form after winning four of their last five matches. Their opponents, on the other hand, have not registered a victory in five ties. They have drawn three and won two games.
Time For Guinea-Bissau Vs Nigeria AFCON Match
Nigeria’s Super Eagles take on Guinea-Bissau at the Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua, at 8:00 pm (WAT) time.