AFCON: We can cage Eagles – Tunisian coach


Nigeria will go head to head with Tunisia in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Last 16 match at the Stade Omnisport Roumdé Adjia in Cameroon on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 9:00 pm CAT.

The Super Eagles eased into the knockout phase after dominating Group D as they won all of their three matches which were against Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.

Nigeria’s ambition of winning their fourth Afcon title is on track and their dangerman is Kelechi Iheanacho, who grabbed a goal and an assist in the group stage.

Having masterminded a 1-0 win over Egypt in their opening Group D game on January 11, Augustine Eguavoen, the Nigeria head coach, says they are ready for another North African giant.

“Congratulations to our team. We’ve qualified and it’s clear we’ll be playing Tunisia, which is another strong North African team,” Eguavoen told Nigerian Football Federation TV.

“We’ll continue to work hard as we’ve always done. The same approach, same determination, tactics may differ a little bit. We’re ready. Yesterday we did a bit of recovery training. Today we start on how we’ll approach the game against Tunisia.

“They’ve had ups and downs, their first game ended in a dramatic fashion. They’ve conceded two penalties in two games as well, and yesterday they lost narrowly towards the end of the game.”

Meanwhile, Tunisia sneaked into the Last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams having finished third in Group F behind Mali and the surprise package of the tournament, The Gambia.

The Carthage Eagles, who were crowned African champions in 2004, will pin their hopes of securing a win over an in-form Nigeria side on Wahbi Khazri, who scored twice and provided an assist in the group stage.

Mondher Kebaier, the Tunisia head coach, reflected on their match against The Gambia and he is optimistic about his side’s chances of reaching the quarterfinals.

“It will be a difficult confrontation, but the chances are equal. God willing, we will take our chances to reach the quarterfinals,” Kebaier said in the post-match conference after the defeat to The Gambia.

“We expected difficulties [against The Gambia], however, we created several chances, and we had many set-pieces, but unfortunately we did not know how to use them, even the penalty kick we missed, and if we converted it, it would have changed the course of the match.”

“In the second half, we more advanced into the opponent’s half, in search of goals, so we left spaces behind. The Gambia team took advantage and scored their killer goal, which forced us to finish the group in third place, to face a strong Nigeria team, and we are also strong.”

The last competitive meeting between Nigeria and Tunisia was on July 17, 2019.

Nigeria claimed a 1-0 win over Tunisia in the 2019 Afcon third-place playoff match which was played at the WE Al-Ahly Stadium in Egypt.

*Courtesy: Backpage TXT




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