Can Augustine Eguavoen’s young squad finally turn up and shine in a major tournament?

You couldn’t really ask more from Nigeria from their qualifying campaign. Six games played, four games won, 14 goals scored and 7 conceded.

But let’s face it, Nigeria were in the easiest group of AFCON 2021 qualifying and it will have done little to prepare the side for the stiffer challenges ahead in Cameroon.

With Victor Osimhen, Leon Balogun, Oghenekaro Etebo, Emmanuel Dennis and Shehu Abdullahi not part of the tournament due to varying reasons a lot will depend on the young players who would be hoping to write their names in the Book of Life.

It’s high time Nigeria delivered a tournament to remember for their long-suffering fans.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the one.

Star Man – Taiwo Awoniyi

While Nigeria now have a glut of striking options to consider, it will almost certainly be the young Union Berlin striker that will be leading Nigeria’s line in Cameroon this winter.

Awoniyi has once more proved his quality in all competitions this term.

Strong, instinctive and endlessly energetic, he is set to be one of the first names on Eguavoen’s team sheet.

One to Watch – Joe Aribo

The form of Aribo for Rangers has really made people sit up and take note.

It has been a meteoric rise for the 25-year-old and if he puts on a show in Cameroon then the world really will be his oyster.

Coach – Augustine Eguavoen

There is now a sense that Nigeria are on the verge of some long-overdue success.

Certainly, Eguavoen could do with some. While he’s universally liked and respected, the coach will be aiming to better his record of Bronze medal in Cameroon.

But, by chance or by design, Cerezo now has an exciting, young team blessed with real pace and attacking verve and if they can just fulfil their potential there may be knighthood around the corner for the Nigeria manager.

Group D Fixtures

11 January 2022
17:00
Nigeria v Egypt
Roumdé Adjia Stadium, Garoua

11 January 2022
20:00
Sudan v Guinea-Bissau
Roumdé Adjia Stadium, Garoua

15 January 2022
17:00
Nigeria v Sudan
Roumdé Adjia Stadium, Garoua

15 January 2022
20:00
Guinea-Bissau v Egypt
Roumdé Adjia Stadium, Garoua

19 January 2022
20:00
Guinea-Bissau v Nigeria
Roumdé Adjia Stadium, Garoua

19 January 2022
20:00
Egypt v Sudan
Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaoundé

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