Mohamed Abrahim Aleyat of Libya is tackled by Kalu Orji Okogbue of Nigeria during the CHAN Group C match between Libya and Nigeria on 19 January 2018 at Grand Stade de Tanger, Tanger Morocco Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Aleyat during the last group match which Nigeria won by a lone goal
CHAN 2018…..CHAN 2018

Femi Solaja

Dateline was January 26 2016, the Home-based Super Eagles were highly favored to reach the knockout phase of the championship held in Rwanda but coach Sunday Oliseh and the rest of the team were pipped by more adventurous Guinea Syli Stars in the final group stage match in a match Nigeria needed a draw. It was end of the dream for the likes of Chisom Chikatara and coach Sunday Oliseh who had excelled as a football pundit until he ventured into coaching profession.

Tonight, Nigeria will be aiming to avoid elimination from the ongoing 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament with victory at most a draw over Equatorial Guinea at the Stade Adrar in Agadir to be sure of progress into the next stage.

The kickoff time is 8:00pm Nigerian time with Super Eagles just like it was two years ago in Rwanda in Group C, head into the clash as group leader with with four points from two matches and know that a second successive win will confirm it place in the knockout stages of the continental showpiece, regardless of the result between Rwanda and Libya in Tangier.

Nigeria followed a goalless draw against the Amavubi with a narrow 1-0 win over 2014 CHAN champions Libya.
Sunday Faleye scored Nigeria’s only goal so far in the competition and a crucial one to lead the pack in the group.

Head coach Salisu Yusuf was happy with his team’s tactical discipline in victory over Libya last week but was quick to highlight the importance of their impending clash against Nzalang Nacional who have nothing but pride to play for after two consecutive defeats.

“Our strategy to close down their space worked,” Yusuf said. “We watched their games and they’re a good possession team, good with the ball.
“Closing down the space gave us the advantage and we look forward to the next game with humility and discipline. We have to work hard – very hard – to beat Equatorial Guinea. It won’t be easy,” he said in pre match interview yesterday.

Equatorial Guinea have endured a tough tournament in Morocco with a 3-0 defeat to Libya followed by a 1-0 loss to Rwanda, as they duly suffered a premature exit from the competition.

Head coach Rodolfo Bodipo, though, is not ready to throw in the towel just yet and has called on his troops to give their all against a much favoured Nigeria unit.

“We have a young team and we are doing well,” said Bodipo. “We have gained a lot of experience. Our goal was to learn from this experience. Even if we are eliminated, we will play hard against Nigeria.”

1 Nigeria 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 4
2 Rwanda 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 4
3 Libya 2 1 0 1 3 1 2 3
4 Equatorial Guinea 2 0 0 2 0 4 -4 0