Nigeria faces South Africa in the quarterfinals on Wednesday (July 10th) in Cairo. The Super Eagles, who can count on Odion Oghalo, will have to be wary of Bafana Bafana, executioner of Egypt.
From our special envoy in Cairo,
Egypt, a favorite at home, with superstar Mohamed Salah, fell in the knockout stages against South Africa (1-0). From now on, the Bafana Bafana will try to bend the Super Eagles to reach the semifinal.
Second in Group B, behind the surprising Madagascar, Nigeria, which has three continental titles, returns to the front of the scene after two missed editions (2015 and 2017).
The metamorphosis Odion Ighalo
The men of Gernot Rohr, who had been beaten by the Malagasy during the last group game (2-0), have passed the test against Cameroon without being significantly superior (3-2).
" We lost to Madagascar and suffered against Cameroon (title holder, ed). We must be realistic, "says Gernot Rohr today. " When you beat the favorite, it becomes, " he said, highlighting the performance of South Africans in a stage acquired to the cause of the Pharaohs.
Against South Africa, Nigerians will once again count on Odion Ighalo, author of two goals and a decisive pass in qualifying in the eighth against Cameroon. He had already shone during the victory over Burundi.
After his 2018 World Cup turned into a nightmare, the top scorer of the playoffs with seven achievements will he continue its momentum? The former Watford player in the Premier League had been much criticized after missing an opportunity that could have qualified the Super Eagles against Argentina. He had even subsequently received death threats. " I do not look at the critics I do my job. I am happy when my coach is satisfied, "says the center forward at Shanghai Shenhua in China. While adding, " Losing would not be acceptable . "
The experience of Akpeyi
" We know South Africa who was in our qualifying group, " said Gernot Rohr. And no one has forgotten that the Super Eagles had a very bad start to the qualifying phase with a defeat on the first day at Uyo in June 2017 (2-0). In November 2018, in the second leg on Matchday 5, the two teams were separated on a draw (1-1).
" Defensively the team has progressed. We are more disciplined in the field. There is more maturity and I trust our goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs). He knows South African football and it may be an advantage. We are up to the challenge, "concludes Gernot Rohr.
READ ► CAN 2019: Calendar, results and standings of the Africa Cup