Nigeria have their sight set on the knockout stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations when they battle Guinea at the Alexandria Stadium on Wednesday.
The Super Eagles will lock horns against the Syli Nationale, who have been tipped as Group B favourites, after booking their place in Egypt with an unbeaten record of three wins and three draws. That run of results ensured that they finished as their qualification group leaders ahead of Ivory Coast.
Odion Ighalo’s effort made the difference in for Nigeria their opening match against Burundi last Saturday, and they will hope to have the Shanghai Shenhua attacker - who ended the qualifying series as top scorer with seven goals - back in the starting XI alongside Ahmed Musa.
Musa also came off the bench to inspire the three-time African champions to victory in Alexandria.
On Tuesday, Gernot Rohr’s men turned up late for training as they protested for their unpaid bonuses, but they will look to put such challenges behind them to navigate their way past Paul Put’s men.
The squad has been boosted with the return of Samuel Kalu, after he was cleared of dehydration, but Abdullahi Shehu is still nursing a hamstring injury he sustained against the Swallows.
Following their disappointing 2-2 draw against Madagascar in their opener, Guinea will be looking to make amends for the dropped points against Nigeria in an attempt to keep their hopes of advancing to the next round alive.
The Syli Nationale have been reminded of their mission in Egypt, after sharing the spoils with the debuting Island nation last Saturday, with the Guinean Football Federation President, Antonio Souare calling on them to aim for a place in the Afcon final.
Key player Naby Keita was in action for 28 minutes during the stalemate at the Alexandria Stadium, and could be in line to lead Put’s side out against the Super Eagles..
Guinea are making their 12th Afcon appearance in Egypt, but they are yet to win the coveted continental trophy, having made their debut appearance in 1970.
However, they need to boost their hopes of ending the trophy drought on the continent by progressing out of Group B first.