Nigeria May Play Guinea, Cameroon or Senegal in Round of 16 

Femi Solaja

There are strong indications of a potential Super Eagles of Nigeria versus  Syli National of Guinea Round of 16 clash this weekend as the AFCON 2023 tournament enters the crucial knockout phase.

Although the Group C table may change this evening to place any of second-placed side from Group C, which will be Senegal, Guinea or Cameroon, in the last 16 fixture against Nigeria.

Super Eagles have never missed the knockout stage since their participation in the 1984 edition hosted by the same Côte d’Ivoire.

The three-time African champions made the crucial round again yesterday evening courtesy of a lone goal victory against Guinea-Bissau.  They entered the Round of 16 phase with seven points but Equatorial Guinea won the group with better goals difference. The Nzalang Nacional’s emphatic 4-0 demolition of  hosts Elephants of Côte d’Ivoire last night extended their goals advantage beyond Nigeria’s reach.

With Group A already decided, Nigeria will have to wait for the outcomes of today’s Group C matches. The Gambia will face off with former champions, Indomitable Lions of Cameroon while defending champions, Teranga Lions of Senegal will play Syli National of Guinea.

With Senegal already qualified and needing just a draw against Guinea to top

the Group, the attention of many Nigerians will shift little to Guinea as a likely opponent of the Super Eagles.

According to the fixtures for the next round, the runner-up in Group A will play the team that finished second in Group C which Guinea currently occupy. Only a Guinea win over Senegal may change the equation as it presently stands and lift the Syli National to top of the table while the Teranga Lions swap places with Sadio Mane side as the next opponents of Super Eagles on Saturday.

As the Nigeria versus Guinea Round of 16 fixture looms, pundits will be looking forward to see if the Guineans will repeat their 2-0 defeat of Nigeria last month in a warm-up game in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. If that happens, it will be ,a repeat of how Super Eagles exited the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon when Tunisia denied them passage to the quarter-final stage.

Nigeria edged out Guinea in the opening group match of the 2019 tournament in Egypt and went further on the podium to finish as the bronze medal winners.

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