Nigeria vs Egypt: Kickoff time, venue, team news, predictions – AFCON 2021 Preview

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Two title favourites – The Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Pharaohs of Egypt clash in Group D’s star match at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.

Intro

Fans of both countries and neutrals alike will be fixated as two of the likeliest nations to win this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament do battle, first for the control of Group D.

Three-time winners Nigeria will be without a swathe of their first-choice forwards in Victor Osimhen, Emmanuel Dennis, and Odion Ighalo.

But such is the abundance of stars at the West-African nation that they can still call on the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, and Alex Iwobi to lead the line.

Ighalo was the topscorer at the last edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)

Egypt boasts of arguably the best player in the world at the moment, Mohamed Salah, and they will be looking to milk the best out of him for a chance to win a record-extending eighth AFCON title.

Beyond possibly deciding who tops this group, the result of this game also holds importance for table-toppers in Group E (possibly defending champions Algeria or powerhouses Ivory Coast) who would be looking on to see who they would face in the Round-of-16.

Form and Head-to-Head

Both nations come into this tournament with a lot of pedigree and history behind them backed up by good form in recent times.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have lost only once in their last five games, picking up three victories and one draw in the other four. In that time they have scored seven times and conceded thrice.

The Pharaohs of Egypt boast a better record, however, drawing only one of their last five games with four victories to boot. They have scored 10 and conceded only three in their last five matches.

In terms of head-to-head matches, the Egyptians have had it better in recent times, winning three of the last five matches between the two sides.

Egypt are the sixth-ranked country in Africa, just a place below Nigeria in the latest FIFA rankings

Though Nigeria won the last meeting, a friendly match settled by Paul Onuachu’s 1st-minute goal at the Stephen Keshi Stadium on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

At the AFCON finals, Nigeria also has the edge winning three of seven encounters with two draws in between.

Date, Kick-off time, and Venue

The Nigeria Vs Egypt game is scheduled to hold on Tuesday, January 11 at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua by 5 pm Nigerian time.

Team News and Possible Line-ups

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have been rocked by a series of no-shows especially in the attacking positions with Osimhen, Dennis, and Ighalo not making it to Cameroon as well as first-choice centre-back Leon Balogun.

The Pharaohs of Egypt have better luck with star players Salah, Mohamed Elneny and Ahmed Hegazi all accounted for. So far, no players from either team have been ruled out due to coronavirus.

Nigeria XI: Maduka Okoye; Ola Aina, William Troost-Ekong, Chidozie Awaziem, Zaidu Sanusi; Wilfred Ndidi, Joe Aribo; Samuel Chukwueze, Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon; Kelechi Iheanacho

Nigeria’s most recent AFCON triumph came in 2013 under the late Stephen Keshi (IMAGO/Richard Wareham)

Egypt XI: Mohamed El Shennawy; Akram Tawfik, Mahmoud Hamdy, Ahmed Hegazi, Ahmed Fatouh; Mohamed Elneny, Abdallah El-Said, Amr Al Sulaya; Mohamed Salah, Mostafa Mohamed, Omar Marmoush.

Predictions

Both teams will be going into this game to get a foothold in the group. Both attack-minded and defensively solid, there would not be much to give away.

However, the Super Eagles are entering this tournament having sacked their coach (Gernot Rohr) less than a month to this game with interim manager Austin Eguavoen taking charge.

Forced changes in attack also mean there might be some teething problems in this game for perennially slow-starters such as the Super Eagles.

Pitted against a settled side led by Carlos Queiroz and a world-class matchwinner in Salah, the Pharaohs of Egypt should edge this game by a 1-0 scoreline.

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