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AFCON

SUPER EAGLES COULD BE THE FIRST TO PICK ROUND OF 16 SLOT

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

With the Nigeria versus Guinea being the first of the three fixtures of the day as the Africa Cup of Nations enters its sixth day, the Super Eagles could be the first of the 24 teams to pick a slot in the next round.

A win by Nigeria means they acquire unassailable six points which will keep them from dropping to elimination level.

A contest with the Syli Nationale of Guinea is however anticipated to be a keenly contested one if past games are anything to be considered. The match is expected to be the crunch game of the Group B to determine the possible group leader that will remain in Alexandria for the Round of 16 match.

Nigeria won their first match against Burundi while Guinea surprisingly had to settle for a 2-2 draw with debutants, Mozambique. It is the results of the Saturday matches that have given Nigeria the edge.

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Wednesday’s match will be the second ever head-to-head clash of Nigeria and Guinea in the Africa Cup of Nations finals since that of Ethiopia 1976. The encounter ended 1-1.

Both have ever clashed in the qualifying series for the Africa Nations Cup. Nigeria in 1963 got Guinea’s on-field qualification upturned and went to the final competition in Ghana.

While Nigeria used Guinea as the stepping stone into the Africa Cup of Nations in 1963, Guinea was the team that denied Nigeria qualification for the 2012 edition.

Both teams therefore have scores to settle with one another. Besides, the overall head-to-head clashes of both teams are identical, four victories apiece and six drawn encounters. Wednesday’s clash therefore has the ingredients of tie-breaking.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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