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AFCON 2019: Do Nigeria have the quality to conquer in Egypt?

AFCON 2019: Do Nigeria have the quality to conquer in Egypt?

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will participate in the 2019 Afcon in Egypt with the desire to be called Kings of Africa again after missing out on two successive tournaments in 2015 and 2017. Their last appearance came at the 2013 edition held in South Africa, the Late Stephen Keshi who was at the helm masterminded a win in the Final.

The West African Nation have won the Afcon title three times 1980, 1994 and 2013. In April 1994, the Super Eagles were ranked 5th in the FIFA rankings, the highest FIFA ranking position ever achieved by an African football team. Throughout history, the team has participated 18 times at the Africa Cup of Nations.

But the question on my mind is whether this Nigerian side have the quality to dismantle teams and win the Afcon crown.

Gernot Rohr’s charges missed out on qualification last time but will be determined to make a mark and bring a smile on Nigerian faces once again.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Semi Ajayi were axed from Nigeria’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after Rohr released his final 23-man list on Sunday.

The two players were unused substitutes last Saturday as Zimbabwe held the Super Eagles to a goalless draw at the Stephen Keshi Stadium. Again questions arise, will the super Eagles step it up in Egypt when the real thing begins?

Of course on paper, Nigeria have a pretty strong squad. Gernot Rohr will count on the experience of Skipper John Obi Mikel, Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo to bag a fourth title for the Super Eagles. Rohr has many options also with the likes of Wilfred Ndidi who plays for Leicester City in the English Premier League. Stoke City midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo also is an added option and brings quality to the squad.

John Obi Mikel : IMAGE CREDIT – GETTY IMAGES

In defense setup you have the solid pair of William Troost-Ekong who plays for Serie A side Udinese FC and Leon Balogun of Brighton & Hove Albion in the EPL. CD Leganes defender Kenneth Omeruo also throws a hat in the mix.

Even in the goalkeeper department, there is equally quality any of the three, Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi could be called to duty.

This Super Eagles side looks very good and definitely has the quality to be crowned Champions in Egypt.

Nigeria have been drawn in Group B of the continental showpiece and they will begin their campaign against Burundi in Alexandria on June 22.

They will later wrap up their group outings with fixtures against Guinea on 26 and Madagascar on June 30.

Super Eagles squad:

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa).

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); William Troost-Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany).

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Middlesbrough FC, England); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel).

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi SC, Belgium); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua, China); Alexander Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland, Denmark); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal, Spain)

An African football Journalist based in the town of Kabwe, Zambia.

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