AFCON 2023: Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea, Preview and Prediction

AFCON 2023: Nigeria vs Equatorial Guinea, Preview and Prediction

Ero Samson
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
Equatorial Guinea logo
Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea
Victor Osimhen logo
V. Osimhen
Napoli logoFNigeria logo
Wilfred Ndidi logo
W. Ndidi
Leicester City logoMNigeria logo
Victor Okoh Boniface logo
V. O. Boniface
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S. Umar
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  • Ivory Coast is poised to host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations
  • Nigeria are on the hunt for a fourth Cup of Nations crown
  • The Super Eagles kick off their campaign against Equatorial Guinea

The frenzy of the 34th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) continues with another nail-biting Group A clash.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria's quest to win a highly coveted fourth Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) crown begins with a clash against Equatorial Guinea.

Both teams, drawn alongside host Ivory Coast and Guinea Bissau, boast a flurry of stars that have tipped to herald the competition.

AFCON, Nigeria, Super Eagles, CAF, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast
Players of Nigeria's Super Eagles celebrate after scoring in a clash against Saudi Arabia. Image: MB Media.
Source: Getty Images

Jose Peseiro’s side have, however, had to deal with a flurry of last-minute changes that has stirred doubts amongst fans of the Nigerian national team.

The Nzalang Nacional, on the other hand, are aiming to get one better than their best-ever finish at the AFCON, which remains the fourth place achieved in 2015.

With the game shaping up to be a truly pulsating encounter, Sports Brief takes a look at the preview and predictions ahead of this clash.

Nigeria Vs Equatorial Guinea Preview

The preparation for the tournament for Peseiro’s side didn’t leave many Nigerians with the much-needed positivity they would have anticipated as their final five run of matches saw them pick up one victory against Sao Tome and Principe.

The West African nation have also had to deal with a share of injuries, which have so far ruled out three of their crucial players, including Sadiq Umar, Victor Boniface and midfield linchpin Wilfred Ndidi, as reported by OwnGoalNigeria.

However, the hopes of the Eagles rest largely on the ability of marquee forward Victor Osimhen. The Napoli forward, who scored 31 goals in 39 appearances through 2023, is undoubtedly tipped to flourish at the tournament and will surely prove a source of worry for the Equatoguineans.

Contrastingly, the Nzalang Nacional has encountered fewer doubts and injury concerns during their tournament preparations. The Central African nation remains unbeaten since their defeat in the AFCON qualifier against Cameroon in September 2022.

Juan Micha's team, known for causing upsets, particularly demonstrated in the 2021 edition, aims to repeat such feats against the Super Eagles.

The strength of the Equatoguinean side lies in their defensive solidity, having conceded only three goals in their last six outings. While success against the formidable Super Eagles is uncertain, the Equatoguineans approach the encounter without fear, considering the absence of pivotal names in certain areas of the Nigerian team.

Prediction — A shock is on the cards

Equatorial Guinea boasts a squad featuring 12 players who play their professional football in Spain.

Led by former Real Sociedad and Middlesbrough star Emilio Nsue, who boasts a goal record of 15 goals in 37 appearances for his country, the National Thunder could be poised for a surprise victory on the night.

Where to watch the game

All AFCON 2023 matches will air on Sports Premium, channel 252 or 246, on StarTimes as well as on StarTimes-ON app.

Super Eagles legend makes AFCON prediction

Sports Brief in a previous report highlighted former Nigeria goalkeeper Dosu Joseph has given his predictions with regard to the AFCON slated for Ivory Coast.

The Atlanta 1996 Olympic Gold winner tipped Victor Osimhen to clinch the Most Valuable Player (MVP) prize and also backed Jose Peseiro’s team to win the tournament.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).