Nigeria takes on Angola in the quarterfinal of the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday at Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, hoping to escape the poisoned chalice of the tournament favorites designation.
In the round of 16, the Super Eagles overcame long-standing rivals Cameroon to surpass their performance at AFCON 2021, while the Palancas Negras overcame a novice Namibia team to create tournament history by winning for the first time ever in the knockout stages.
Before Jose Peseiro’s squad played their Cup of Nations opening a fortnight ago, there were modest expectations. However, after defeating Cameroon 2-0 in the most recent round, the three-time winners are starting to dream of a fourth crown.
Ademola Lookman scored twice during the match, but Victor Osimhen’s tenacity was just as valuable even if he didn’t add to the one goal he scored against Equatorial Guinea at AFCON 2023.
Peseiro’s team has benefited from a solid defense that has caused them to give up little opportunities to score; their last decisive opportunity came in their 1-0 victory against Cote d’Ivoire in the second semifinal match.
Following South Africa’s stunning victory against Morocco on Tuesday to go to the World Cup 2022 semifinals, Nigeria is expected to obtain the outcomes against Angola and either Cape Verde or South Africa to advance to the championship match on February 11.
They can’t sit back and relax since this competition is showing that the gap between established countries and developing ones is narrowing, as seen by the unexpected results thus far.