AFCON 2023: Three Angolan Players Nigeria’s Super Eagles Must Monitor Closely Ahead of Crunch Clash

AFCON 2023: Three Angolan Players Nigeria’s Super Eagles Must Monitor Closely Ahead of Crunch Clash

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
Angola logo
Manuel cafumana logo
Manuel cafumana
Maccabi Haifa logoD-
Zito Luvumbo logo
Z. Luvumbo
Cagliari logoFAngola logo
Gelson Dala logo
-FAngola logo
  • The quarter-final of the Africa Cup of Nations is on the horizon
  • Nigeria are poised to face the Palancas Negras of Angola
  • Sports Brief highlights three players to watch ahead of the showdown

The excitement in the air is palpable as the quarter-final showdown of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) commences with a thrilling clash between the mighty Super Eagles of Nigeria and the formidable Palancas Negras of Angola.

This encounter against Pedro Gonclaves' side is being touted as a potential banana peel, especially among those well-versed in the rich history of the Super Eagles.

The historical backdrop reveals a series of encounters that have often swayed in favour of the Angolans, with Nigeria's last triumph dating all the way back to 1989.

AFCON, CAF, Nigeria, Super Eagles, Angola
Angola players celebrate after scoring their second goal during the Africa Cup of Nations match against Mauritania. Image: Kenzo Tribouillard.
Source: Getty Images

However, as the anticipation builds for the renewed rivalry between these two powerhouses at the AFCON, Sports Brief turns the spotlight onto key players of Angola that Nigeria must keep tabs on to secure victory in this high-stakes encounter.

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Gelson Dala

The 27-year-old impeccable star has been at the centre of coach Goncalves’ team at the AFCON. In his four appearances at the showpiece, the former Sporting CP forward has been involved in five goals, including three in the knockout fixture against Namibia.

This dynamic forward's combination of speed, clinical finishing, and knack for exploiting defensive vulnerabilities positions him as a formidable threat in the final third.

To curb Dala's influence, the Super Eagles' defenders must adopt a vigilant approach, tightly controlling his movements and limiting the space and opportunities he excels in.

Manuel Cafumana

The Maccabi Haifa central midfielder plays a crucial role in shaping the identity of the Palancas Negras.

The 24-year-old possesses a remarkable ability to orchestrate play elegantly. Often likened to a metronome, he consistently keeps the Angolan national team ticking regardless of their opponent.

The former Ludogorets star is distinguished by his outstanding ball control, visionary play, and strategic passing prowess.

Cafumana stands as the linchpin in Angola's midfield, exhibiting the capacity to dictate the game's tempo and deliver precise passes that unlock opposing defences. His presence poses a challenge to the compact Super Eagles setup under coach Peseiro.

In facing Cafumana, the Nigerian team must be vigilant, closely monitoring his movements to disrupt his rhythm and minimise his impact on the night.

Zito Luvumbo

The Cagliari forward has consistently emerged as a potent weapon within the Angolan arsenal. Despite not holding a regular starting position at the AFCON, coach Goncalves strategically utilises the 21-year-old as a super sub, injecting energy into the team during the latter part of the match when opposing defences are fatigued.

Luvumbo's explosive pace, finesse in dribbling, and knack for unsettling opposing defences make him a significant threat on the flanks.

His contributions as a substitute have added a dynamic dimension to Angola's attacking prowess, making him a key player to watch in the upcoming matches.

Nwabali shares cryptic message

Sports Brief in another report stated Super Eagles goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali has shared a cryptic message ahead of Nigeria’s clash against Angola.

The 27-year-old expressed gratitude on social media for the overwhelming support he has received and acknowledged the inevitability of injuries in the game.

Nwabali's post has sparked mixed reactions, leaving many concerned about his potential availability for the crucial quarter-final clash.

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).