AFCON 2023 Quarterfinal Showdown: Angola Coach Impressed by Performance of Two Nigerian Players

AFCON 2023 Quarterfinal Showdown: Angola Coach Impressed by Performance of Two Nigerian Players

Ero Samson
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
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Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
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Victor Osimhen logo
V. Osimhen
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Ademola Lookman logo
A. Lookman
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B. Silva
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  • The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final stages continue to take shape
  • The Super Eagles of Nigeria are poised to face Central African nation Angola
  • Coach of the Palancas Negras has spotlighted two Nigerian stars ahead of their clash

The enthralling 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) continues to take shape as teams confirm their places in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Nigeria's Super Eagles are among the teams that have successfully secured a place in the quarterfinals of this prestigious tournament. The three-time Cup of Nations champions are gearing up to face Angola's Palancas Negras at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny on February 2nd.

AFCON, CAF, Nigeria, Angola, Super Eagles, Pedro Goncalves, Osimhen, Lookman
Coach Pedro Goncalves gestures during the Africa Cup of Nations match between Angola and Namibia. Image: Kenzo Triboullard.
Source: Getty Images

This impending clash is poised to keep fans on the edge of their seats, especially considering the historical challenge the Palancas Negras pose for Nigeria. The Super Eagles have recorded victory only twice in nine international encounters against Angola, whilst drawing five, according to data courtesy of All Nigeria Soccer.

However, as the anticipation builds for what promises to be a riveting encounter, coach Pedro Goncalves has pinpointed two Nigerian forwards who have significantly captured his attention.

Angola coach on Nigeria’s forward

The 47-year-old, who took to the media ahead of the clash, identified Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman as two standout players of the Super Eagles.

As reported by Sapo Desporto, Goncalves admitted:

"I myself, in the FIFA votes, also voted for him as one of the best players in the world, so we will play against a selection equipped with players with a lot of talent, who have tremendous, jaw-dropping playing capacity, a lot of speed, especially derived from the two forwards, Osimhen and Lookman, who, in fact, add great vertigo to the game.
"On the other hand, he has played with three very robust central defenders who are extremely adapted."

The Portuguese coach did cast his vote for Osimhen as one of the best players at the FIFA awards, ranking him behind Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and compatriot Bernardo Silva.

However, it's crucial to note that coach Goncalves' concerns are justified, considering that, of the five goals Nigeria has scored at the AFCON so far, Lookman has been involved in three, while Osimhen has directly contributed to two goals and secured the game-winning penalty against Ivory Coast.

Nevertheless, the Portuguese tactician will need to devise a strategy to neutralise what is rapidly becoming one of the most potent attacking duos in the competition if he hopes to enhance his side's chances of securing victory.

Cameroon coach names new AFCON favourite

In another report, Sports Brief pointed out that the coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, Rigobert Song, has identified a new favourite to win the AFCON after his team's elimination.

The five-time Cup of Nations champions were knocked out by the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny on January 27.

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).