The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will be the 32nd edition of the main international football competition in Africa organised by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). It is the continents biggest and best competition for the senior men’s national teams.
Cameroon are the defending champions after defeating Egypt 2-1 in the 2017 final in Gabon. The match was held at the Stade de l'Amitié in Libreville on 5 February 2017 with Vincent Aboubakar scoring a dramatic 88th minute winner.
For the Ivorians, this is a tournament to properly herald the Post Golden Generation. After a false start at the 2017 Afcon finals, they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, falling at the last hurdle against Morocco.
They have, however, bounced back, coinciding with the rise - and improvement - of exciting attacking talents. Wilfried Zaha has demonstrated that Crystal Palace modest status doesn’t limit his ability as a tormentor to any defence in the world, while Nicolas Pepe’s ruthlessness in front of goal has linked him to a top-level move in the summer. Supporting casts Maxwel Cornet, Franck Kessie, Serge Aurier and co. have been performing on a good level this season. So, it’d be for the good if Nigeria avoided them in the group stages.
The Nigeria national football team, also known as the Super Eagles, represents Nigeria in international association football and is controlled by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). They are three-time Africa Cup of Nations winners, with their recent title in 2013, after defeating Burkina Faso in the final.
In April 1994, the Super Eagles were ranked 5th in the FIFA rankings, the highest FIFA ranking position ever achieved by an African football team. Throughout history, the team has qualified for six of the last seven FIFA World Cups (as of 2018), missing only the 2006 World Cup hosted in Germany, and have reached the round of 16 three times.
The South Africans’ onslaught in Uyo in 2017, when the Super Eagles started their Afcon qualifying series, would have put them on the road to miss out on a third consecutive Afcon finals. Also, a point from two games against Stuart Baxter’s side shows how much of catch-up Bafana Bafana have done.
Nigeria, however, crawled to the top of Group E in Afcon qualifying, with South Africa settling for the spot behind. But having to do without ceaselessly tracking Percy Tau’s nimbleness in the finals' preliminaries would mean a problem less for the Super Eagles.
They were convincing at the last edition of the Nations Cup and they are definitely a side Gernot Rohr’s side would never want to meet at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr and Kalidou Koulibaly are few of standout African performers this season in Europe and they are a core of this Aliou Cisse’s current set-up.